Dial 1119

Watch Dial 1119

"When you see this man... Dial 1119!"
  • Passed
  • 1950
  • 1 hr 15 min
  • 6.7  (1,571)

Dial 1119 is a thrilling film noir from 1950, directed by Gerald Mayer and starring Marshall Thompson, Virginia Field, and Andrea King. Set largely in a single room, the movie takes place over the course of one evening as a group of strangers are held captive by a disturbed young man. The film opens with a shot of a train pulling into a station, accompanied by a jazzy score that sets the tone for the movie. As the passengers disembark and go about their business, we are introduced to several key characters who will become trapped together in a dangerous situation later in the film.

First, there is Fred Palmer (Marshall Thompson), a recently-added patient at a mental institution who has managed to escape and is now on the run. He is found by one of the station's employees, who recognizes him from a wanted poster and alerts the authorities. Then there is Fay (Virginia Field), a brassy nightclub singer who has just finished her set and is heading home for the night. She catches the eye of a creepy man named Gunther Wyckoff (Sam Levene), who follows her out of the club and onto the train platform.

Meanwhile, a wealthy businessman named Henry Tarling (William Conrad) is on his way home from a business trip when he catches the eye of a young woman named Mary Lansdowne (Andrea King). Mary is an employee at the same company as Henry and has been nursing a crush on him for some time. When he suddenly collapses on the train platform from a heart attack, Mary rushes to his aid and accompanies him to a nearby hospital.

These various plotlines converge when Fred makes his way to a nearby bar and takes everyone inside hostage at gunpoint. Among the patrons are Fay and Gunther, who are forced to help the unstable young man carry out his plan. Their cohorts include an ex-con named Chuck (Keefe Brasselle) and a cynical doctor named John D. Faron (James Bell). As the night wears on and tensions rise, the hostages begin to turn on one another, with Fred's grip on reality slipping further and further away.

While the plot of Dial 1119 sounds like it could be excessively melodramatic or unrealistic, the film manages to stay grounded thanks to its tight screenplay and talented cast. Marshall Thompson is especially effective as Fred, imbuing his character with a sense of quiet menace that makes it clear he is not to be trifled with. Virginia Field is similarly strong as the wisecracking Fay, who despite her rough exterior is ultimately revealed to have a more vulnerable side.

The dialogue in Dial 1119 crackles with wit and tension, with each character getting their chance to shine. The film's black-and-white cinematography adds to the sense of unease, with stark shadows and daring camera angles contributing to the overall sense of claustrophobia. Though the movie was made over 70 years ago, its themes and atmosphere remain just as effective today.

All in all, Dial 1119 is a tense and thrilling piece of classic noir that deserves more recognition than it often receives. Its twist ending is sure to keep viewers on the edge of their seats, while its exploration of the darkest corners of the human psyche will linger long after the credits roll. For fans of the genre, Dial 1119 is a must-see.

Dial 1119
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 15 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.7  (1,571)