The Slender Thread

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A college volunteer at the crisis phone gets a call from a suicide caller.

ACTORS :  Sidney Poitier, Anne Bancroft, Telly Savalas

YEAR OF RELEASE :  1965

POSTAGE : Free postage within Australia

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The Slender Thread  Alan is a Seattle college student volunteering at a crisis center. One night when at the clinic alone, a woman calls up the number and tells Alan that she needs to talk to someone. She informs Alan she took a load of pills, and he secretly tries to get help. During this time, he learns more about the woman, her family life, and why she wants to die. Can Alan get the cavalry to save her in time before it’s too late?

Bancroft is excellent…

The Slender Thread  This film tackles subject matter which we still do not see addressed as often as it could be, with Sidney Poitier as a young suicide hot-line worker/college student who works helping out a Seattle psychiatrist Dr. Coburn (well-portrayed by Telly Savalas).

At the time this was even more of a taboo subject. A housewife feeling despair, Bancroft portrays her alienation and desperation sympathetically and in an understated manner. She has a child from her first boyfriend, concealed this from her husband (well-portrayed by Steven Hill) Her husband becomes angry and she begins to feel as if her life is a sham. Her office job no longer satisfying, she takes to wandering the city of Seattle, there are several intriguing scenes of the coastline.

There is one moving scene where she is on the beach and comes across a small group of children who are trying to rescue an injured bird. She rushes to a liquor store to buy some brandy (not sure how this can quite help the bird, but anyway…) she returns to the beach to find the children have abandoned the bird. It is an effective and disturbing scene.

Poitier is outstanding as usual, in that he is trying to locate Bancroft when she calls threatening suicide. She has checked into the Hyatt Hotel somewhere in the city. He becomes alternately frustrated, caring, sympathetic, angry and joyous in various aspects of the film.

Overall this is an excellent film with some very good performances. Highly recommended.

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