Phone Call From A Stranger

  • 1952
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

This well-made episodic film sustains viewer interest with excellent performances from the entire cast. Merrill leaves his wife, Westcott, when he learns that she is about to desert him and their children for a lover. While flying to Los Angeles to think things out, Merrill meets Winters, an ex-stripper, who is nervous because this is her first plane trip....read more

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This well-made episodic film sustains viewer interest with excellent performances from the entire cast. Merrill leaves his wife, Westcott, when he learns that she is about to desert him and their children for a lover. While flying to Los Angeles to think things out, Merrill meets Winters,

an ex-stripper, who is nervous because this is her first plane trip. Returning from New York, where she's failed to land a part in a new musical, Winters has decided to give up her career to devote herself to her beloved husband, Craig Stevens. Varden, Stevens' mother, who runs a Los Angeles night

spot, wishes her son would dump Winters, but Winters is determined to make her marriage work. When it encounters turbulence, the plane is forced to land at a small airport in the heartland. Another passenger, Rennie, a doctor, seeks legal advice from lawyer Merrill, explaining that he is on his

way to California to admit responsibilty for the deaths of three people he killed while driving drunk five years earlier. Rennie is determined to exorcise the guilt that has gotten in the way of his relationship with his son, Donaldson. Wynn, a traveling salesman given to telling hoary old jokes,

suggests he, Merrill, and Rennie get together in California for a drink sometime to talk about their shared "adventure." Neither Merrill nor Rennie really wants to have anything to do with the blustering Wynn, but, for the sake of appearances, they exchange phone numbers with the salesman. In the

meantime, Wynn sings the praises of his knockout wife, Davis. Eventually, the plane takes off, but bad weather necessitates another emergency landing, in which Merrill is knocked senseless. When he recovers, Merrill is shocked to discover that he is one of the crashlanding's few survivors; Rennie,

Winters, and Wynn are all dead. Airline officials prepare to inform the loved ones of those killed, but Merrill asks to be allowed to carry the news to the families of Rennie, Winters, and Wynn himself. He goes to Rennie's home and tells Donaldson what his father intended to do. Donaldson is about

to run away to South America, but Merrill persuades the youth to stay and comfort his mother, Straight. Next, Merrill visits Stevens and Varden. Knowing no harm will come from bending the truth, Merrill tells them that Winters had won the role in the Broadway show and was coming home to celebrate.

Finally, Merrill goes to see Davis and discovers that she's a bedridden invalid. Davis (in a terrific performance) explains that she became paralyzed in an accident after she left Wynn for another man, but that her husband took her back and cared for her. Touched by Davis' story, Merrill tells her

about his own marital problems, and Davis pleads with him to call his wife, let her know he's alive, and go back to her. Merrill makes that call and plans to return to Westcott.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: This well-made episodic film sustains viewer interest with excellent performances from the entire cast. Merrill leaves his wife, Westcott, when he learns that she is about to desert him and their children for a lover. While flying to Los Angeles to think t… (more)

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