wrong number

Sorry, Wrong Number

Sorry, Wrong Number is a 1948 suspense film which tells the story of a woman who overhears a plot for murder. It stars Barbara Stanwyck, Burt Lancaster, Ann Richards, Wendell Corey, Ed Begley, Leif Erickson and William Conrad. The film was adapted by Lucille Fletcher from her radio play.

Plot summary

Stanwyck plays Leona Stevenson, a spoiled, bedridden daughter of a millionaire. The telephone is her sole connection with the outside world. One day, while listening to what seems to be a crossed phone connection, she eavesdrops on two men planning a woman's murder. Leona calls the phone company and police, only to be ignored. Adding to Leona's dilemma is the fact that her husband Henry (Lancaster) is missing.

After a number of phone calls, the terrorized Leona begins to piece together the mystery. Her uneducated husband, who works for her wealthy father, turns out to be not all he seems. She finally realizes that she is the intended victim.


The movie is shot in real time, with many flashbacks to flesh out the story.

Stanwyck's bedroom window overlooks the night skyline of Manhattan. The film is shot very dark, with looming shadows and circling camera shots used to maintain a high level of suspense.

Radio play

Fletcher's play originally aired on the Suspense radio program on May 25, 1943, essentially a one-woman show with Agnes Moorehead as Mrs. Stevenson. The play was reprised seven times, each starring Moorehead. The final broadcast was on February 14, 1960. However, there was another radio version: on January 9, 1950, Lux Radio Theater broadcast an adaptation of the film, with Stanwyck recreating her big screen role.


Barbara Stanwyck was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress.

Other adaptations

Sorry, Wrong Number was made into a television play on a local New York station on January 30, 1946 starring Mildred Natwick and G. Swayne Gordon. A second live teleplay was broadcast on November 4, 1954, as the fourth episode of the CBS anthology series, Climax!, starring Lillian Bronson, adapted by Fletcher herself, with music provided by her then-husband, Bernard Herrmann. It was remade into another television version in 1989, starring Loni Anderson, Patrick Macnee and Hal Holbrook. It was directed by Tony Wharmby and adapted by Ann Louise Bardach.


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