And while it may not surprise you to see a leading lady appear in more films after she wins a golden statue, it may surprise you to learn just how enamored Hollywood is with one leading character – the telephone.
Well, it’s been well over 100 years since the first telephone transmission, and the movies continue their love affair with the phone.
As I draft this post, it’s December in New Hampshire and the snow is falling outside. It’s the perfect time of year to watch It’s A Wonderful Life and I’ve just recently read another snippet of phone trivia about the movie’s leading actor, Jimmy Stewart. Apparently, Stewart was nervous about filming the telephone scene with Donna Reed because he had just returned to Hollywood after serving in the Army and this was to be his first screen kiss since his return. Stewart needn’t have worried; the scene was filmed in one take.
Although not a holiday movie per se, E.T. has received universal acclaim and remains ever-popular. As a matter of fact, the line “E.T. phone home" is ranked 15th on the American Film Institute’s 100 Movie Quotes List.
Like any good character actor, the telephone has appeared in various films always supporting the lead actors and the storyline, but never actually getting headline-credit.
In many a scary movie, the thrill would wane if it wasn’t for the startling ring of the telephone. Movie watcher’s hearts skip a beat when the phone call comes in The Ring and who could forget actress, Drew Barrymore’s expression as she begins to realize the voice on the phone is that of a killer in the movie Scream.
Vintage film-lovers probably remember When a Stranger Calls starring Carol Kane as a trapped babysitter or Barbara Stanwyck as a bed-ridden wife in Sorry Wrong Number. That’s just a few examples.
Colin Farrell learns that it’s unwise to answer a ringing phone in a New York City phone booth -when NYC had phone booths -because a psycho could be on the other end. And yet a telephone booth becomes a safe haven in Hitchcock's The Birds. And who could forget the surprise call to Jodie Foster from conniving Anthony Hopkins, aka Hannibal, in Silence of the Lambs.
Romance also rings true [I couldn't help myself] in the movies; Bells are Ringing with Judy Holiday is one such notable film. Doris Day and Rock Hudson fell in love while sharing a party line in Pillow Talk. And while the telephone determines success or failure in Glengarry Glen Ross, a phone call enables Neo to transport from one reality to another in The Matrix.
There are so many scenes in which the telephone plays an important role in either the plot of the film or the viewer’s experience. I'm not certain which of this year's movies showcase the telephone, but I have no doubt that the phone takes on a character appearance in each and every one of them.
Here at the museum, we host a movie night each October. It's become one of our more popular events. We keep a list of movies we hope to show during our 4th Phriday Movie Night Series. Here's a sneak peak at our current list:
The President's Analyst
His Girl Friday
Bells Are Ringing
We'd love if you'd join us. Be sure to subscribe to our Facebook Events Page that way you won't miss out on any details.
Before I sign off, I thought you may find these fun-facts interesting:
- The coveted 24-karat gold statuette is worth $900, based on current gold prices, while the iPhone 7 cost nearly as much.
- The highest sum ever paid for an Oscar was $1,542,500 by Michael Jackson in 1999. The most expensive smartphone is priced at $14,000. Israeli startup Sirin Labs offers a product called Solarin and it's been dubbed the 'Rolls Royce of smartphones.
- While nearly 3,000 statuettes have been presented since the first Oscar ceremony in 1929 that's nothing compared to the 7 billion people own cell phones.
The 2017 Oscars will broadcast on Feb 26th.
Graham Gifford, Program Coordinator and movie-goer