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Crossed Wires
aka A Telephone Tragedy)

(Two reels, released June 29, 1915)
Directed by Frederick R. Sullivan. Scenario by Philip Lonergan.
Print source: British Film Institute National Film and Television Archive, 30 minutes, 58 seconds.
Cast: Inda Palmer (Mrs. Angell, an old woman), Morris Foster (Will Drake, her nephew), Florence LaBadie (Flo Drake, his sister), Boyd Marshall (Benton, a civil engineer), Ina Hammer (Susan Watson, the housekeeper), Morgan Jones, Ernest Warde.
organ score composed and performed by musician Andrew Crow.

Popular suspense drama in two reels with innovative camera technique.

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In the spirit of the enormously popular mystery and crime pulps of the day, Crossed Wires is a suspense picture with a flair for good storytelling and stylistic innovation, strikingly similar to the later filmmaking style of Hitchcock.

An innocent man is accused and convicted of murder, and when the facts finally surface, the innocent man's sister sets about trapping the guilty party. The courtroom scene, though not unusual, includes a dramatic pan between two close-ups for purely psychological effect. Other advances in cinematography are a close-up reaction shot and two insert shots of objects. The surprise psychological climax is also novel. Stylistically, lighting effects for the dark house scenes are very effective, and in one scene a flashlight, the only illumination on the set, is actually shined into the camera. This treatment is decades ahead of its time.

This film Copyright 2011 Thanhouser Company Film Preservation, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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