Dial 1119

Photo of Leon Ames, Andrea King, Virginia Field, Keefe Brasselle, Sam Levene, and Marshall Thompson in MGM's "Dial 1119," 1950.

Leon Ames, Andrea King, Virginia Field, Keefe Brasselle, Sam Levene, and Marshall Thompson in MGM’s “Dial 1119,” 1950.

1950 saw another crime-drama added to Andrea King’s list of film credits. This time it was for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in a picture called “Dial 1119.” The film’s original title was “The Violent Hour,” but the studio ultimately felt that was too violent. Instead, they capitalized on a trend of telephone numbers in titles, such as “Call Northside 777” and another of Andrea’s films, “Southside 1-1000.”

“Dial 1119” (which is “911” today) was based on the true story of a deranged killer (played by Marshall Thompson) who escapes from a mental institution and ends up holding five innocent people hostage in a bar. Andrea stars as Helen, one of the captives, and she was joined by veteran actors Leon Ames and Virginia Field, along with newcomers Keefe Brasselle and William Conrad (later of “Cannon” fame on television). Also of note was the film’s psychiatrist who tries to help from outside the bar, played by Sam Levene, fresh from his role as Nathan Detroit in the original Broadway production of “Guys and Dolls.” There is also a brief, unbilled cameo from Barbara Billingsly, who went on to play June Cleaver in “Leave It To Beaver.”

This film was directed by Gerald Mayer, nephew of Louis. B. Mayer, famed head of MGM.

Photo of an original lobby card for "Dial 1119." MGM, 1950.

Original lobby card for “Dial 1119.” MGM, 1950.

Watch the trailer for “Dial 1119” on YouTube now: