Dial 1119 may be the first movie where television is an important part of the plot. This psychological thriller is one of eight movies on the 4 DVD Film Noir Classic Collection Volume 5. It clearly is a B movie with a lesser cast but Dial 1119, the equivalent to 911, is entertaining and a pretty decent thriller.
Marshall Thompson plays a very quiet young man on a bus. A projection TV playing in a bar tells us he escaped from the local asylum. The young man steals the bus driver s gun and finds refuge in a bar and holds the few regulars hostage until he can talk to the shrink who sent him to the nuthouse. William Conrad plays the bartender.
Most of Dial 1119 focuses on the relationship between the hostages and the gunman. Thompson is quite good in this thriller. His downplaying everything is an interesting and effective choice. The performance makes up for that of Andrea King as a spinster.
This film noir avoids the many clichés associated with the insane gunman, making this thriller rather original.
The thrillers in the Film Noir Classic Collection Volume 5 are Armored Car Robbery with Charles McGraw and Adele Jurgens, Backfire with Edmond O'Brien and Dane Clark, Cornered with Dick Powell and Walter Slezak, Crime in the Streets with James Whitmore and John Cassavettes, Deadline at Dawn with Joseph Calleia, Desperate with Raymond Burr, and The Phenix City Story with John McIntire.
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