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Phone Call from a Stranger


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Product Details

  • Actors: Bette Davis, Shelley Winters, Gary Merrill, Michael Rennie, Keenan Wynn
  • Directors: Jean Negulesco
  • Writers: Nunnally Johnson, I.A.R. Wylie
  • Producers: Nunnally Johnson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox
  • DVD Release Date: April 8, 2008
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0012KSUUO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,726 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Phone Call from a Stranger" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

A plane crash leads one grateful survivor to reclaim his lost love. Shelley Winters and Bette Davis star.

Customer Reviews

Once started you cannot stop viewing- even for a bathroom break!
C. Scott Harrison
The plot moves along at a very good pace and the acting is extremely convincing.
Matthew G. Sherwin
The movie is great,some mystery- some sadness- Bette Davis is the best actress.
Carmen Torres

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Mark Norvell on January 24, 2008
Format: DVD
Engrossing film about a man (Gary Merrill) who befriends a small group of fellow passengers on a plane trip. When the plane crashes, he alone survives. Disturbed by the stories the people he befriended told him about their lives, he sets out to contact their families and help set things straight. In doing so, he brings healing to them and to himself with his own problems. The passengers include Keenan Wynn as an overly gregarious salesman bragging about his "sexy" wife and Shelley Winters as a stripper whose mother-in-law had no respect for her. Bette Davis appears as the widow of a victim with a tragic story of her own. The stories are told episodically as Merrill contacts each family. This is one of Merrill's finest performances. He was married to Davis at the time. Entire cast is excellent and their stories are touching and tragic with slight dashes of humor. A worthwhile film that is entertaining and with a timely message about forgiveness. Enjoy.
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Format: DVD
Phone Call From A Stranger was far more powerful than I anticipated it would be. The plot moves along at a very good pace and the acting is extremely convincing. We get big name stars in this film, too: Keenan Wynn, Michael Rennie, Bette Davis, Gary Merrill, and Shelley Winters! The cinematography is pretty good although you can see that the plane is really just a miniature flying "in the air;" the cord holding the plane in mid-air is pretty visible. Sigh. However, the choreography is very well done.

When the film starts we quickly meet attorney David L. Trask (Gary Merrill) who's leaving his wife Jane because she was unfaithful to him. She begs him to stay but he can't forgive her and so he boards a plane board for California. As luck would have it, the plane is going to have to take off late because of a very intense rain storm; so it isn't long before we also meet three other people traveling on the same plane with David Trask: Binky Gay (Shelley Winters) is an armchair psychologist who worked as a stripper to make ends meet after her marriage started to have trouble and she wanted to be a star in the theater; and there's Dr. Robert Fortness (Michael Rennie) who has a long history of alcoholism and a very dark secret to hide from the police. We also meet traveling salesman and practical jokester Edmund Vincent 'Eddie' Hoke (Keenan Wynn).

David and the other three people meet and chat in the airport restaurant before leaving Chicago; and they continue to make fast friends on their trip westbound both onboard the plane and when they stop outside of Salt Lake City. They exchange each other's phone numbers with the exception of David Trask, who can't give information about his whereabouts in California because he's traveling there and doesn't know where he'll be staying yet.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By C. Scott Harrison on April 10, 2008
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I have waited years for this terrific film to come out on DVD. Though a trifle melodramatic by today's jaded standards, there is an endearing quality to this film. The cast is perfect, yes, even Davis playing against type!, especially Merrill. Fascinating, thoughtful and absorbing film. Very glad it is finally out. Once started you cannot stop viewing- even for a bathroom break!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Robbins on July 7, 2008
Format: DVD
As the sole survivor of a plane crash, Gary Merrill becomes dedicated to tying up all of the loose ends of his friends who died in the crash. While mending the lives of others, he discovers a way to mend his own.

The problem I had with this film is that I really expected it to be a Bette Davis picture. I was very disappointed to find that after waiting for over half the movie, Bette's part was only a cameo. She gives a great performance in the film, and her sad saga could break your heart, but it wasn't what I had expected.

However, when I reevaluated this film, I actually quite enjoyed it. Shelley Winters is quite comical, and Gary Merrill is all man. The plot is original, and the stories of the passengers aboard the doomed flight range from hilarious to tear-jerking. It's at least worth a rental.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Chris on January 10, 2006
Format: VHS Tape
Bette Davis gives a man the strength to save his marriage.

A plane crash puts an end to the sufferings of three ill-fated passengers but leads to a second chance for the fourth, a man who believes his wife no longer loves him. Starring Gary Merrill, Shelley Winters, Keenan Wynn, and Michael Rennie as the passengers and Bette Davis in a standout performance as an invalid widow who seeks to guide the survivor on a journey to understanding. Phone Call From A Stranger boasts the unbeatable combination of a brilliant cast and an engraving plot line. It is a movie that will inspire as well as move you.

This is a fabulous inspiring movie that I highly suggest to all.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jilmary C. Clowers on March 16, 2006
Format: VHS Tape
Even though she had only a small part in the movie, Bette Davis does a marvelous job. Great movie which follows the lives of 4 people and their families whose fate intersects during a tragedy.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 20, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
I know Bette Davis was only in a small part of this movie but she was in it and that was all I needed to like the movie. And it is a good movie with a good cast.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
People get on a plane. Some live. Some don't. One of the survivors visits the other passengers' (who died) relatives/friends to relay information about the dead.

Nothing special. Nothing horrible. Kinda preachy in certain parts I guess. But might have just been the era. . . over-the-top acting. Dunno. I watched the entire movie. And of course it does help you think about what-if. But I wouldn't say this movie was something you should run out and see. I saw it because I like Merrill, especially in most of his movies with Davis. I should also say that Davis's part in this movie was so miniscule and so late in the film that I hardly see how she is given top billing here. Oh well.
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