The following is Thrilling Days of Yesteryear’s contribution to The Barbara Stanwyck Blogathon, hosted by Aubyn at The Girl with the White Parasol from July 16-22. For a list of participants and the movies to be discussed, please click here. Also, too: I’ve done what I can not to reveal the ending of this movie…but on the off chance you’ve not seen it (or have no familiarity with its source material) I will warn you there be spoilers.
“In the tangled networks of a great city, the telephone is the unseen link between a million lives...” – from the opening crawl of the film
For years, I always had trouble with Stanwyck in this role—only because I just couldn’t reconcile the ball busting dame from Double Indemnity (1944) and The File on Thelma Jordon (1950) as a helpless invalid. Also—I would have loved to see Aggie play Leona. The studio offered her a smaller part in the film, and one can only assume Moorehead sent them a bucket of sand and some pounding instructions; though she was disappointed in not getting the part, she did receive some comfort in knowing that Stanwyck insisted on playing a recording of Agnes’ performance on the set to keep her in the mood.
|Burt asks the waiter who the dude in the shades is behind him. The server's not sure...but it's actually director Anatole Litvak.|
In stretching out her original play to eighty-nine minutes, Lucille Fletcher had a bit of a problem with Mr. Censor, who wasn’t all that keen on the drug trafficking aspect of her original script; the bluenoses also weren’t sold on the idea that Henry would escape the long arm of the law by movie’s end so Fletcher was forced to do a rewrite or two. Fortunately for fans of the radio play, the integrity of Lucille’s memorable final lines are still in the movie; my advice to you is listen to the radio original before unspooling the film…and I think you’ll be pleased with the end result.