1965's THE SLENDER THREAD may not be completely forgotten by some, yet even though it has been on my "To See" list for years, only recently did it turn up on TV.
Sidney Poitier plays a college student. Wanting to study for a final, he goes to his volunteer job at a Crisis Hotline. He expects a quiet night. His boss, Telly Savales, has even left since he doesn't expect anything either.
Then, he gets a call from a woman (Anne Bancroft). She has just taken pills and has less than an hour to live. Poitier has to keep her talking while the police track her down. He gets her to tell the story of what led her to this act (which is told in flashbacks).
Written by Stirling Silliphant, THE SLENDER THREAD is probably best known today as the feature film debut of Sydney Pollack. It is a fairly solid debut as well. Pollack uses to Seattle locations extremely well. It opens with an aerial shot of the city, slowly zooming down to where each character is located while Quincy Jones' score plays on the soundtrack. There are several suspenseful sequences where Pollack's camera follows the various phone calls back and forth between the police and the fire departments being dispatched to try and track down Bancroft.
The supporting cast includes Steven Hill, Edward Asner, even a mustache-free Dabney Coleman.
I'd say this would be a good candidate for a remake, only with today's technology, it is pretty much outdated. In one long sequence, they are attempting to trace the phone call being made. This actually requires people running down corridors of phone wires, tapping into different ones, driving to other switchboard locations to find the correct number. Today, with CALLER ID, it would be done right away.
Released by Paramount, THE SLENDER THREAD was available on VHS but has still not made it to DVD. Turner Classic Movies showed a letterboxed black and white print that looked very good. It is worth a release on DVD.