Features and Columns · Movies

A Love Letter to the Movie Phone Booth

Anyone have a quarter?
Anchorman Phone Booth
DreamWorks Pictures
By  · Published on November 23rd, 2020

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video that eulogizes the dramatic power of the movie phone booth.

There’s something special about the smaller, less assuming cinematic locations: the bathtubs, the car trunks, and the diner counters that elevate the commonplace into more dramatic territory.

And there are few locations more humble and cinematic than the telephone booth. Invented in the late 19th century around the same time as the moving image, phone booths are an essential stage for some of cinema’s most memorable, tense, and emotionally-charged moments.

They are an ideal location for espionage and intrigue; a secretive dispensary of intel and an essential life-line when you suspect all your other avenues are bugged. They can offer a refuge from Hitchcock’s hysterical birds and (temporarily) from hungry intergalactic blobs.

But they can also act as temples of human connection: oases of intimacy in anonymous cities and lonely truck stops. And so the phone booth presents an intriguing paradox: a glass cage with the potential to transport its user anywhere — including, if you’re in the right booth, across time and space itself.

In the real world, the phone booth has fallen into obscurity over the years. But it lives on, eternally, on-screen as one of the greatest cinematic locations of all time. In that spirit, here’s a video essay that celebrates the booth’s cinematic impact.

Watch “Missed Calls: A Eulogy For The Movie Phone Booth”:

Who made this?

This video comes courtesy of the fine folks over at Little White Lies, a film-obsessed magazine based in the United Kingdom. The above video was directed and written by Luís Azevedo and Jake Cunningham, respectfully. You can follow Little White Lies on Twitter here. And you can check out their official website here. You can subscribe to their YouTube account here.

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Based in the Pacific North West, Meg enjoys long scrambles on cliff faces and cozying up with a good piece of 1960s eurotrash. As a senior contributor at FSR, Meg's objective is to spread the good word about the best of sleaze, genre, and practical effects.