Do not hang up!

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German title Do not hang up!
Original title Phone booth
Country of production United States
original language English
Publishing year 2002
length 78 minutes
Age rating FSK 16
JMK 14
Director Joel Schumacher
script Larry Cohen
production Gil Netter ,
David Zucker
music Harry Gregson-Williams
camera Matthew J. Libatique
cut Mark Stevens

Do not hang up! is an American thriller directed by Joel Schumacher in 2002.


Stuart Shepard, called "Stu", is a yuppie as he stands. He does windy business, plays his business partners off against each other with lies and half-truths and, alongside his wife Kelly, has an eye on young Pam. He has been calling them regularly at lunchtime from a phone booth for days so that their phone calls don't appear on his cell phone bill.

One day he is about to call Pam again from the said phone booth on 53rd Street between Broadway and 8th Avenue. Before he can dial the number, he is disturbed by a pizza delivery boy who is supposed to deliver a paid pizza to Stuart. Angry about this disturbance, he insults the supplier and sends him off with the pizza. After talking to Pam, the phone suddenly rings and Stuart picks up the receiver. A haunted voice answered, telling Stuart in a tone that could not be countered, that he would be killed if he ended the conversation and left the cell.

Stuart thinks all of this is a bad joke, but the caller quickly convinces him of the opposite. When Stuart realizes that the caller is serious about his threats, he locks himself in the phone booth. A little later, the caller shoots the belligerent pimp Leon after his prostitute urged Stuart to leave the phone booth so she can go about her business. The killer, who lies in wait with his rifle within firing range of the phone booth, continues to play a perfidious game of cat and mouse with Stuart, who tries in vain to use his cell phone to secretly attract the police's attention. Instead, the unknown caller sanctions this attempt at deception with a graze on Stuart's right ear. After the emergency call because of the dead pimp, the police arrive with special task forces and snipers . She initially assumes that Stuart is a confused man who shot the pimp and has now locked himself in the phone booth in order to now “ commit suicide by a cop ”, as captain Ramey put it. The careful and experienced Captain Ramey refuses a violent solution to the situation and tries to talk to Stuart. But the sniper at the other end of the line forces him not to respond to Ramey's conversation and instead to ask him tasteless questions, whereupon Ramey withdraws again. Police technicians try in vain to identify the alleged therapist Stuart at the other end, which causes problems because of an encrypted telephone connection. Stuart repeatedly asserts to Captain Ramey that he only has a cell phone , but no weapon. But here too the killer has an unpleasant surprise in store. He has hidden a pistol in the roof of the phone booth and puts Stuart under enormous psychological pressure. From the ambush he also threatens Kelly and Pam, who became aware of the bizarre scene independently of one another through the nationwide live broadcast on television and who appeared at the crime scene.

A sometimes very unfriendly conversation develops between Stuart and the killer, in the course of which Stuart can give the police officers a few hidden clues by calling his cellphone on his wife's cellphone, through which she can track down the real killer of Leon. Stuart is eventually forced by the shooter to make a kind of life confession. He then confesses his lies to both Kelly and Pam and reports in front of everyone - live on television - about his cheating, his falsehood and how much he actually hates himself for it. By tracing a call Kelly received from the shooter that morning, the police can determine his location. When they are ready to storm the hotel room from which the shots were fired at the phone booth, the situation escalates. Stuart offers himself as a victim so that the killer does not shoot Kelly or Pam. He is shot down by the police with a rubber bullet to forestall the sniper.

When the policemen of a special task force storm the killer’s hotel room, they find the pizza delivery boy with his throat cut, with whom Stuart argued at the phone booth shortly before the whole incident. For everyone involved in the case seems clear it, but as Stuart of sedatives stunned by ambulance is, the killer suddenly appears next to him and tells him that he'll keep an eye on him and that he should try harder to do better . The killer then walks past the destroyed phone booth, carrying a suitcase for his sniper equipment, before disappearing into the crowd.



The script goes back to an idea by Alfred Hitchcock to let the entire plot of a film take place in a telephone booth. He spoke to François Truffaut ( Mr. Hitchcock, how did you do that? ) About the effect of cinematic means in a story in a confined space, referring to the film Murder on the Call , which takes place almost exclusively in a single room. Although Hitchcock and Larry Cohen liked the idea of ​​directing an entire feature film in a phone booth, they lacked the brilliant idea to tie the plot inseparably to the phone booth. When Cohen came up with the concept of the sniper involved in the late 1990s, it took him less than a month to write the script.

After the script had been finalized, a suitable director was sought for implementation. Michael Bay came into question for this and toyed with the idea of ​​taking over the direction. However, when he met the scriptwriters and producers, he asked how they could get the protagonist out of the phone booth so that directing was outsourced.


All recordings were made in the order in which they can be seen in the final cut. Filming was completed within 10 days. Filming began in New York City ; however, in November 2000 it was too cold for the actors and the film crew, so the film set was moved to 5th Street in Los Angeles . Leading actor Colin Farrell spent most of the filming in a phone booth .


The film was originally scheduled to be released on November 15, 2002, but was postponed by 20th Century Fox to a later release date due to the Beltway Sniper Attacks from Washington, DC .



According to the verdict of the Lexicon of International Films , do not hang up! a “chamber play-like psychological thriller that refers to classic traditions of suspense cinema; mainly because of his brilliant performance he succeeds in captivating over long stretches without major effects. "

Carsten Baumgardt von Filmstarts saw a good film with “moral pitfalls” , in whose opinion the film “cannot be denied a certain degree of perversion”. So displeased “the exaggerated morality in the form of the killer who wants to get a man back on the right track and thus justifies his brutality and sadism. That leaves a little uneasiness. "

The "psychological experiment [...] with a telephone booth as a scenic center [...] is remarkable and actually a concentrated thriller", which takes the "everyday communication mania in the age of the mobile phone" to extremes and at the same time plays "effectively with the sensations of the press" , judges Flemming Schock from the film mirror . In addition to Farrell, Forest Whitaker in particular is singled out as “very well cast” and a “dramaturgical necessity”. As an “adrenaline-pumping concentrated thriller with moral ballast”, the film is an “exceptional phenomenon”, which can be traced back to the “successful combination of chamber play and mass event”. Rudolf Inderst, also from Filmspiegel, saw parallels between not hanging up! and the film Saw , released a year later , in which he recognizes “moralists” in both opponents who want to achieve a return to social values ​​through extreme violence: “So nowadays humanity no longer has the will to live; through extreme situations you can get them to take pleasure in their life again and to fight for / for it. "

Rotten Tomatoes found 71 percent positive votes from the specialist audience.


In the scene in which the caller warns Stuart not to pull out his wallet in order not to risk being struck down with 41 shots, there is an allusion to the death of Amadou Diallo . In February 1999, four New York police officers mistook this unarmed civilian for a serial rapist . When he was arrested, Diallo reached for his wallet and 41 shots were fired at him, 19 of which resulted in injuries to which he succumbed.

With a total playing time of 78 minutes, Kiefer Sutherland can only be seen in the picture as an unknown caller for 52 seconds. Originally, these scenes were shot with Ron Eldard , but were subsequently re-cast and shot again with Kiefer Sutherland. The German voice actor Tobias Meister only speaks the role of the caller Kiefer Sutherland, although he usually also embodies the German voice of Forest Whitaker, who plays the role of Captain Ramey here.

The plot of the film Don't hang up! runs in real time, so the 78 minutes of playing time correspond exactly to the time span in which the action takes place. Since the majority of the film was to be played for Colin Farrell with the listener to the ear, a speaker was made available to him at the other end of the line to make the dialogues look more real.

In the background of the phone booth, on a shop window, it says “Who do you think you are?”, In German: “What do you think you are?”. This sentence is a stylistic allusion to Stuart, who becomes aware of his real life as the film progresses.

Grossing results

After just three days, production costs of 13 million US dollars were recovered at the US box office . The film grossed around 98 million US dollars worldwide.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Age rating for Do not hang up! Youth Media Commission .
  2. a b c d e f g h i j k Background according to the Internet Movie Database
  3. Don't hang up! in the lexicon of international film Template: LdiF / Maintenance / Access used
  4. a b review , film starts , Carsten Baumgardt
  5. ^ Criticism , Filmspiegel , Flemming Schock
  6. ^ Criticism , Filmspiegel , Rudolf Inderst
  7. Don't hang up! at Rotten Tomatoes (English)
  8. Box Office Mojo: Phone Booth (2003)