Shopping From the Movies: Telephones

Watching Freaky Friday (1977), I remembered how much I miss the corded telephone as dramatic device (and artifact of tasteful home decor). As Sara notes, a traditional telephone creates a restrictive perimeter from which the user cannot roam. All sorts of great comedic/dramatic material–especially in Seventies teen flic films–is generated when the user overrides this perimeter, typically in a kitchen/domestic space (ovens smoke, washers overflow, blenders erupt, etc). What would film history even look like without the home or pay telephone (think: Klute, All the Presidents Men, The Bells are Ringing, Pillow Talk)?! Most likely, everything would be a bland variation on films like the Bourne Identity or The Departed wherein cellular phones simply double as explosive or tracking devices (whole new action film genres are being built upon the untethered, disposable, multi-tasking properties of the modern cordless phone).

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