In old Hollywood films the phone was an essential form of communication just like it is now. It was , however, a little more glamorous. The pay phone was the favourite port of call for the gangster type because the calls could not be traced. The guy making the call usually kept wore a trench coat, looked around furtively before, during and after the call and spoke in a muffled voice. It was also convenient for the dedicated journalist ( Clark Gable ) rushing to get his story to the paper before the competition. Funny they also favoured trench coats. The car phone is not exactly a new idea either. In fact Bogie had lot’s of calls to make as he was always a very busy man no matter which side he was on. There were films that were all about the phone call too and it’s necessity as a life line to the outside world especially if one was in a scary situation like Barbara Stanwyck in ‘Sorry Wrong Number’. The phone was a real game changer then as now only no -one had a phone plan. Poor Stanwyck was the frantic bed bound woman who couldn’t walk being stalked by a killer. What about Mildred Pierce ( Joan Crawford ) on the verge of reporting her own daughter to the police for murder. What a dilemma? The daughter she has loved and spoiled and sacrificed everything for is having an affair with Mildred’s playboy hubby.There was also the dual phone conversation where people talked on the phone at the same time as having a conversation with each other. Oh look it’s Bogie again. This time with Cagney. In fact the stars were often on the phone in the movies but guess what? They had something to say. Not mindless verbal drivel for the sake of appearing to be popular , although the star always had to play the star, but still had real conversations. Phones were just as important then as they are now but face to face back then meant real communication with a real person. A phone was just a phone not a replacement for human contact. As such it was there for a reason and in the movies it had style. By 1956 they had even invented the T.V. phone where you could see the person on the other end. And you thought Skype was a revelation. Well guess what it’s all been done before.
Hollywood Phone Call.