As soon as I saw this very cool 1940s telephone in a recent Fashiontribes post , the first thing I thought of was film noir. It’s the kind of phone used by trenchcoat and fedora wearing detectives, tough talking dames and scheming femme fatales. The kind of phone you don’t answer unless you’ve either got a gun or a martini in the other hand. Or maybe that’s just my weird imagination working overtime. Whatever. I totally covet this phone, and the red one just like it, both for sale at the Three Potato Four Shop . They’ve been completely refurbished and wired for use with modern day phone jacks.
But it is true that the telephone was an important part of the imagery that helped define this particular film genre. So it got me googling about telephones and 40’s film noir. I even discovered an interesting dissertation explaining The Significance of the Telephone in Film Noir .
The movie Sorry, Wrong Number , starring Barbara Stanwyk and Burt Lancaster , is a great example of the phone’s significance in noir film. Your can purchase it at Movies Unlimited , which describes it perfectly as "Classic suspense thriller stars Barbara Stanwyck in her Oscar-nominated
role as a woman who accidentally hears her own murder being planned
over the telephone, and must stop the plot before she’s permanently
The text in the prelude to the movie reads
"In the tangled networks of a great city, the telephone is the unseen link between a million lives…
It is the servant of our common needs – the confidante of our inmost secrets…
Life and happiness wait upon its ring…
And loneliness… and
Hey, they don’t call it NOIR for nothing! It always has to be about darkness, death, danger and, of course, dialing! And only a no nonsense phone like the one above will do. It’s distinctively deco style makes a serious design statement. Unlike the wimpy little cell phones we use today that play cutesy tunes, then go immediately into voicemail when we don’t feel like picking up, I’m sure this telephone postively commands attention with its urgent ringing and demands to be answered immediately. Just like a good little bad noir phone should do!