Friday, March 5, 2010

Telephone exchange names on screen

[Private eye Brad Galt (Mark Stevens) extracts an eight-digit telephone number from thug “Fred Foss” (William Bendix).]

The Dark Corner (dir. Henry Hathaway, 1946) is ninety-nine minutes well spent. Snappy dialogue, great lighting, liquor in paper cups, Lucille Ball as Brad’s sharp secretary/partner, and Clifton Webb as a Waldo Lydecker-like husband.

One puzzle: A card in “Fred’s” wallet gives his address as 328 E. 23rd Street. The Chelsea district though is on the west side of Manhattan. A slip on the part of the movie-makers? Or is the point that Galt, recently arrived from San Francisco, misses the inconsistency?

As Galt says about another puzzle, later in the film, “All right, so it doesn’t add. What do you want me to do, call the Quiz Kids?”

More exchange names on screen
The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse
Baby Face
Born Yesterday
Dream House
The Man Who Cheated Himself
Nightmare Alley
The Public Enemy

comments: 2

Elaine said...

I did not think that exchanges actually had anything to do with the location....but now that you bring it up, it makes some sense.

I still recall our phone number for the 4 years we spent living in Ft. Smith, Arkansas:
SUnset 2-4609. This useless bit of information is taking up space in my brain that I badly need, but I can't delete it.

Michael Leddy said...

Elaine, you’re right: exchange names were usually not place names. MUrray Hill in New York was, and I’m assuming that Chelsea and CHelsea went together, more or less.