In 2002, Paramount released the 1948 film noir ‘Sorry, Wrong Number’ on DVD.
This Blu-ray from [Imprint] (the brackets are part of the name) makes no claim to be a new 2-K or 4-K digital transfer.
Even so, you can make out details not apparent on DVD.
I am generally pleased with the picture.
[Imprint] is an Australian company, but their Blu-ray is region-free.
The only thing really wrong with it is that it is ridiculously expensive ($45).
Disney Blu-rays cost more, but they at least are new 4-K transfers.
Blu-ray Bonus Features:
--- new audio commentary by Alan K. Rode of the Film Noir Foundation.
--- new introduction by TCM Noir Alley host Eddie Muller (2:30)
--- new documentary about the making of ‘Sorry Wrong Number’ (31:30) *
--- radio show from 1950 with Barbara Stanwyck & Burt Lancaster (60:00)
--- new staged dramatization of the original radio play (28:30) *
--- movie trailer - also on the old DVD
--- English SDH subtitles - also on the old DVD
* mystery: the documentary and the staged dramatization of the radio play are copyrighted 2009 by Paramount.
Perhaps they were part a planned DVD/Blu-ray release in 2009 that never happened.
I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the transfer of the new [Impact] Blu-ray also dates to 2009, but I’m just guessing.
‘Sorry, Wrong Number’ is based on a 28-minute radio play starring Agnes Moorehead - essentially a one-woman show, broadcast on the CBS radio program ‘Suspense’, in 1943.
It created a national sensation, and was rebroadcast an additional seven
times before the final broadcast in 1960, each time starring Agnes Moorehead.
Orson Welles called ‘Sorry, Wrong Number’ “the greatest single radio script ever written.”
28 minutes is too short for a movie, so Paramount hired the author, Lucille Fletcher, to turn it into a 90 minute film, by fleshing out and adding supporting characters - in particular, Barbara Stanwyck’s courtship of husband Burt Lancaster is told in extended flashback.
Fletcher also devised a motive for the planned murder - illicit drug dealing by employees of Stanwyck’s father’s pharmaceutical business.
But the censor wouldn’t allow any mention of drugs.
This handicaps the film, resulting in a confusing plot.
‘Sorry, Wrong Number’ is an entertaining 90-minute film, but the radio play is a 28-minute masterpiece.
As a bonus feature, [Image] could have included one of Moorehead’s radio broadcasts (available on YouTube), but instead they chose a 1950 Lux Radio Theater broadcast with Stanwyck and Lancaster.
The 28-minute radio show was expanded to a full hour, but this is unnecessary padding.
In compensation, the [Impact] Blu-ray includes a 2009 filmed re-creation of the 28-minute radio broadcast starring Sandy York with the Shadowland Theatre (see color photo).
Never thought I’d say this, but I recommend that you listen to (and watch) the 28-minute Shadowland Theatre staging of the original radio script before you watch the movie.
BURT LANCASTER FILM NOIR CHECKLIST:
Between 1946 and 1949, Burt Lancaster starred in eight films noir, but avoided the genre completely in the ‘50s and ‘60s, branching out into adventure films, westerns and straight dramas.
[IMDB considers ‘Sweet Smell of Success’ (1957) to be film noir, but I have my doubts - it’s a showbiz melodrama, much like ‘Sunset Boulevard’ or ‘A Star Is Born’.]
All eight Burt Lancaster films noir are on Blu-ray.
The film titles in blue are Amazon links.
For the rest, enter the film title in the Amazon search bar.
1946: [[ASIN:B00W69F2VA The Killers [Blu-ray]]] (Criterion Collection)] with Ava Gardner, Edmond O’Brien, music by Miklós Rózsa - directed by Robert Siodmak
1947: Brute Force [Blu-ray] (Criterion Collection) with Hume Cronyn, Charles Bickford, music by Miklós Rózsa - directed by Jules Dassin (prison picture; actresses only appear in flashbacks)
1947: [[ASIN:B07KLQRNK2 Desert Fury [Blu-ray]]] with Lizabeth Scott, John Hodiak, music by Miklós Rózsa - directed by Lewis Allen (rare example of film noir in color)
1948: [[ASIN:B07CXDB7P8 I Walk Alone [Blu-ray]]] with Lizabeth Scott, Kirk Douglas, music by Victor Young - directed by Byron Haskins
1948: Sorry, Wrong Number [Blu-ray] with Barbara Stanwyck, William Conrad, music by Franz Waxman - directed by Anatole Litvak
1948: Kiss the Blood Off My Hands [Blu-ray] with Joan Fontaine, Robert Newton, music by Miklós Rózsa - directed by Norman Foster
1949: Criss Cross [Blu-ray] with Yvonne DeCarlo, Dan Duryea, music by Miklós Rózsa - directed by Robert Siodmak
1949: [[ASIN:B00OUOA7CI Rope of Sand [Blu-ray]]] with Corinne Calvet, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, music by Franz Waxman - directed by William Dieterle