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The Man Who Wasn’t There: Wendell Corey, Actor

Friday, September 6, 2013
9:00 p.m. Sorry, Wrong Number
Anatole Litvak (U.S., 1948)

Is it a lifeline or a life-or-death-line? Wealthy shut-in Leona Stevenson (Barbara Stanwyck) depends on her phone. When her husband’s (Burt Lancaster) office line is continuously busy, she has the operator intervene and is mistakenly connected to a call in which two men are planning a murder . . . perhaps hers. Told through a series of dizzying flashbacks, Sorry, Wrong Number gets everything right: the mounting hysteria, the deceptive story line, the helplessness of Leona seen through the oppressive opulence of her apartment. Wendell Corey plays the ever-caring Dr. Alexander, an overly confident physician who deems Leona’s woes psychosomatic. The wrong number, again.

—Steve Seid

• Written by Lucille Fletcher, from her radio play. Photographed by Sol Polito. With Barbara Stanwyck, Burt Lancaster, Wendell Corey, Ann Richards. (89 mins, B&W, DCP, From Paramount Pictures)