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Much of this film takes place in flashbacks, which occur when the characters tell their stories to Gary Merrill's character, "David Trask." According to a modern source, producer-screenwriter Nunnally Johnson originally wanted to cast Lauren Bacall as "Binky Gay," but she was unavailable. Although Hollywood Reporter news items include Bob Adler, Robert B. Williams and Guy Zannette in the cast, their appearance in the released picture has not been confirmed. Keenan Wynn was borrowed from M-G-M for the production, and Shelley Winters was borrowed from Universal. Broadway actress Beatrice Straight made her screen debut in the picture, which received an award for Best Scenario at the 1952 Venice Film Festival.
Merrill and Winters reprised their roles for a Lux Radio Theatre presentation of the story on January 5, 1953. Portions of Phone Call from a Stranger were included in an hour-long television remake of the story, entitled Crack Up, which was broadcast on the 20th Century-Fox Hour in February 1956. The show, directed by Ted Post, included footage from the film, featuring Bette Davis as "Marie Hoke" and Merrill as David Trask, as well as new material performed by Merrill and co-star Virginia Grey.