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Dial 1119

Dial 1119(1950)

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teaser Dial 1119 (1950)

Those who remember Marshall Thompson as Dr. Marsh Tracy, the benevolent veterinarian in the TV series, Daktari (1966-1969), will get a kick out of his performance in Dial 1119 (1950). He plays Gunther Wyckoff, an escaped homicidal maniac who plots to murder his psychiatrist (Sam Levene). He holes up in a bar across the street from the psychiatrist's home and waits for his opportunity while the police comb the city for his whereabouts. While the authorities track him down, Wyckoff becomes increasingly paranoid, threatening the lives of everyone in the bar.

A taut and suspenseful B-movie, Dial 1119 is distinguished by the crisp black-and-white cinematography of Paul C. Vogel (He worked on such film noir favorites as Lady in the Lake, 1947) and the excellent ensemble cast which includes Virginia Field, Andrea King, Leon Ames, Keith Brasselle, and William Conrad (star of TV's detective series, Cannon, 1971-1976) as the unlucky bartender. It was the first film directed by Gerald Mayer, son of the famous MGM tycoon, Louis B. Mayer, and remains the best movie of his brief career.

But the best reason to see it is Thompson who was stereotyped as the wholesome, All-American boy next door during the first half of his film career. As this film proves, he was certainly capable of playing more complex roles and in his later years, he even directed a feature, A Yank in Viet-Nam (1964), which is probably the first movie to address the problems which led to the United States' involvement in the Vietnam war.

By the way, if the plot of Dial 1119 seems familiar, it's because it's been copied numerous times by other filmmakers, though none as effectively as this version. A similar plot development occurs in When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder? (1979), in which Marjoe Gortner terrorizes the patrons of a roadside diner, an independent feature filmed in New York entitled Headless Body in Topless Bar (1996), and Kevin Spacey's directorial debut, Albino Alligator (1997), starring Matt Dillon, Gary Sinise, and William Fichtner as fugitives holed up in a New Orleans bar.

Producer: Richard Goldstone
Director: Gerald Mayer
Screenplay: Hugh King (story), Don McGuire (story), John Monks Jr.
Cinematography: Paul Vogel
Film Editing: Newell P. Kimlin
Original Music: Andre Previn
Principal Cast: Marshall Thompson (Gunther Wyckoff), Virginia Field (Freddy), Andrea King (Helen), Sam Levene (Dr. John Faron), Leon Ames (Earl), Keefe Brasselle (Skip), William Conrad (Chuckles).
BW-75m.

by Jeff Stafford

back to top
teaser Dial 1119 (1950)

Those who remember Marshall Thompson as Dr. Marsh Tracy, the benevolent veterinarian in the TV series, Daktari (1966-1969), will get a kick out of his performance in Dial 1119 (1950). He plays Gunther Wyckoff, an escaped homicidal maniac who plots to murder his psychiatrist (Sam Levene). He holes up in a bar across the street from the psychiatrist's home and waits for his opportunity while the police comb the city for his whereabouts. While the authorities track him down, Wyckoff becomes increasingly paranoid, threatening the lives of everyone in the bar.

A taut and suspenseful B-movie, Dial 1119 is distinguished by the crisp black-and-white cinematography of Paul C. Vogel (He worked on such film noir favorites as Lady in the Lake, 1947) and the excellent ensemble cast which includes Virginia Field, Andrea King, Leon Ames, Keith Brasselle, and William Conrad (star of TV's detective series, Cannon, 1971-1976) as the unlucky bartender. It was the first film directed by Gerald Mayer, son of the famous MGM tycoon, Louis B. Mayer, and remains the best movie of his brief career.

But the main reason to see it is Thompson who was stereotyped as the wholesome, All-American boy next door during the first half of his film career. As this film proves, he was certainly capable of playing more complex roles and in his later years, he even directed a feature, A Yank in Viet-Nam (1964), which is probably the first movie to address the problems which led to the United States' involvement in the Vietnam war.

By the way, if the plot of Dial 1119 seems familiar, it's because it's been copied numerous times by other filmmakers, though none as effectively as this version. A similar plot development occurs in When You Comin' Back, Red Ryder? (1979), in which Marjoe Gortner terrorizes the patrons of a roadside diner, an independent feature filmed in New York entitled Headless Body in Topless Bar (1996), and Kevin Spacey's directorial debut, Albino Alligator (1997), starring Matt Dillon, Gary Sinise, and William Fichtner as fugitives holed up in a New Orleans bar.

Producer: Richard Goldstone
Director: Gerald Mayer
Screenplay: Hugh King (story), Don McGuire (story), John Monks Jr.
Cinematography: Paul Vogel
Film Editing: Newell P. Kimlin
Original Music: Andr Previn
Principal Cast: Marshall Thompson (Gunther Wyckoff), Virginia Field (Freddy), Andrea King (Helen), Sam Levene (Dr. John Faron), Leon Ames (Earl).
BW-75m.

by Jeff Stafford

back to top