Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Slender Thread (1965)

May 13, 2011

52. The Slender Thread (1965)

Starring Sidney Poitier, Anne Bancroft, Telly Savalas
Directed by Sydney Pollack

Plot: "A college volunteer at the crisis phone gets a call from a suicide caller." (from IMDb)

Awhile ago, Millie did a post on this movie and it interested me enough to check it out myself. (So thanks, Millie, for the great post and recommendation!!!)

The film has a sort of odd feel to it at first. I can't quite put my finger on what causes this, but I think it has something to do with the music and the cinematography. There is some good camera work/editing in this. At least one moment in the film I was so impressed I had to rewind and see the previous part again. I don't know a lot about cinematography, etc., but I do know when something catches my attention.


I found the acting in this—particularly by Anne Bancroft—to  be incredibly raw. At times that makes it almost hard to watch, because it feels so personal. But Bancroft is really incredible in this. I also thought Telly Savalas was great, and although his dialogue is limited, it’s what he can convey in a single look that impressed me. Poitier was okay. I mean, he's good but for some reason his acting rarely comes off as truly genuine. At least to me. But maybe I just need to see some of his better performances.

What impacted me most about this film, though, was how much I could relate to Anne Bancroft's character. No, I've never been in that exact situation, but I think that many people, at one time or another, have felt a similar sense of rejection, hopelessness, or boredom with life that leaves them floating anchorless. There are just so many scenes that powerfully emote those feelings. One in particular, where she (Anne Bancroft’s character) goes to seek psychiatric help and then is given a bunch of pat answers in response, really rang true. Even as I write this, there are so many lonely and hurting people in this world. I don't think anyone can really relate to what those feelings of despair are like unless they have felt them. As this film shows, sometimes just giving a smile, a helping hand, or being there to listen can make all the difference.

This film is unusual, like I said, but I think it is worth seeing. It touches on a lot of issues that affect all of us (more than I even mentioned here). It's also very suspenseful at points. One can't help but be riveted to the screen while watching it.

P.S. Fans of old TV may be interested to know that Ed Asner (Lou Grant on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and in his spin-off series) has a small role in this.


Alan Newell (Sidney Poitier): "What went wrong?"
Inga Dyson (Anne Bancroft): "Nothing…really. I just didn't have anything to do."



  1. I'm so glad you saw this. It's SO MUCH BRILLIANCE.

    The cinematography really is amazing. I heart '60s Seattle!

    Great post! :-D

  2. Yes! Watching this made me want to visit there. 


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