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Murder by Phone (1982)

A disgruntled phone company employee develops a device whereby those answering a phone can be murdered, and it's up to Nat Bridger to stop the killer.

Director:

Michael Anderson

Writers:

Michael Butler (screenplay), Dennis Shryack (screenplay) | 5 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Chamberlain ... Nat Bridger
John Houseman ... Stanley Markowitz
Sara Botsford ... Ridley Taylor
Robin Gammell ... Noah Clayton
Gary Reineke Gary Reineke ... Lt. Meara
Barry Morse ... Fred Waites
Alan Scarfe ... John Websole
James B. Douglas James B. Douglas ... Jack Gilsdorf
Ken Pogue ... Fil Thorner
Neil Munro Neil Munro ... Winters
Jefferson Mappin ... Photographer
Tom Butler ... Detective Tamblyn
Colin Fox Colin Fox ... Dr. Alderman
Luba Goy ... Beth Freemantle
Lenore Zann ... Connie Lawson
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Storyline

A disgruntled phone company employee develops a device whereby those answering a phone can be murdered, and it's up to Nat Bridger to stop the killer.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

First the line goes dead, then... See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Canada

Language:

English

Release Date:

December 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hell's Bells See more »

Filming Locations:

Kleinburg, Ontario, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

CAD5,600,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(re-edited American) | (video)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Known in the UK as Bells See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Nat Bridger: I'll call ya!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Pictures of telephones are displayed throughout the concluding credits, which finish with a telephone ringing. See more »

Alternate Versions

Murder by Phone is the title of the truncated US release. The original version was entitled Bells, and runs an additional 20 minutes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Pop Culture Beast's Halloween Horror Picks: The Car (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

 
thriller still pretty good in its cut form
6 December 2004 | by FieCrierSee all my reviews

Much more of a gap between the invention of the telephone and this movie, and the invention of the television and the movie Murder By Television, for some reason.....

I saw the cut version of this, which was still rated R surprisingly, despite there being no nudity, just a couple of not-too-bad cuss words, and some deaths that weren't too terribly horrific. This could hardly get anything worse than a PG-13 rating today. I'd be curious what was cut from the movie.

Anyway, a young woman answers a phone ringing in a subway station. Strange sounds come from the phone, and she begins having a seizure of sorts, blood drips from her eyes, and then she is forcefully blown away from the phone, while the receiver ignites in flames.

The young woman was a former student of Richard Chamberlain's character, an

environmental science professor, I think. Her father asks him to investigate her death, which he was told was a heart attack. Chamberlain learns about the phone from a bag lady, and gets some help from a woman painting a mural at the phone company's headquarters. Meanwhile, other people keep dying the same way.

One of the most amusing moments for me was when John Houseman's character drawled "I've earned it." Houseman had done some famous commercials for Smith-Barney saying "They earned money the old-fashioned way: they earned it" - with that same pronunciation. I don't know which came first, the commercials or this movie (I'd guess the former).


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