Release date1951 WriterJohn Reinhardt, Peter Berneis
Tagline$53 means life or death to him!
Chicago Calling is a 1951 film noir directed by John Reinhardt. It centers on a man trying to find enough money to continue a phone call from his wife telling him about the current state of their daughter.
Bill Cannon's drinking costs him his family, wife Mary and daughter Nancy leaving him for good. A struggling photographer, Bill pawns his camera to help pay for Mary's trip, then goes on another alcohol binge.
Finally returning home two days later, Bill meets a telephone installer, Jim, who is removing the phone because of an overdue bill. A telegram from Mary is also there. Their daughter Nancy has been seriously injured in a car crash near Chicago, and Mary wires that she will call Bill to tell him whether Nancy survives.
In desperation, Bill persuades Jim to keep the phone line there for 24 more hours. He desperately seeks work, unable now to use his camera. Things go from bad to worse when a young boy, Bobby Kimball, gets into a bicycle accident, hitting Bill's dog.
Bill learns that Bobby is being raised by an abusive sister, Babs, who intends to place him in an orphanage. Bobby offers his savings, $60, to Bill to pay for the phone service. They sneak into the house to take the money. But the phone company's office is closed by the time Bill arrives.
At a baseball game in the park, Bobby loses the money. When it is recovered, a conscience-stricken Bill decides to return it, but Babs' boyfriend catches him calling Chicago to find out about his daughter, thinks Bill is lying, and calls the police. Bill then discovers from Mary that their daughter has died. When the police arrive to arrest him, Jim and Bobby explain what happened. The cops show Bill mercy and let him go.