Barbara Stanwyck is a bedridden heiress who overhears the planned murder of an unidentified woman on a crossed telephone line. A particularly pleasing and unusual noir in which the descent into a personal hell takes place not on dark rainy mean streets, but in an uptown penthouse bedroom, as Stanwyck's character systematically learns the truth about her husband, Burt Lancaster, through a series of increasingly disturbing and disparate telephone calls.
Stanwyck chews the scenery with aplomb, however her grandiose and over the top performance works extremely well against the various subdued and revealing telephone "flashbacks" in which she learns of her husband's shady drug related business deals and his involvement with gangsters, each expose leading to a particularly terrible realisation in the denouement.
The atmospheric camera work by Sol Polito gives the film an increasingly nightmarish feel as the plot unfolds, bringing to the interior set of the bedroom and the adjacent sweeping staircase an almost surreal haze, as curtains blow wildly and a fluid camera dizzily pulls from landing to landing in shots that skip from pools of almost absolute darkness to revealing shafts of light, beautiful cinematography which is complemented by a gut wrenching crescendo reaching score by the great film composer pioneer, Franz Waxman, his taut and tense orchestration bringing an almost unbearable finale to the film's suspense filled story line.
Sorry, Wrong Number is a gem of a late 40s thriller that pairs a cleverly scripted plot to a group of studio film-makers at the height of their skills, and is certainly to be recommended as a less obvious noir.