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102 Ratings

The Telephone Book

Directed by Nelson Lyon
United States, 1971
Comedy, Erotica, Cult


In this film that seeks to make a comedy about obscene telephone callers, several callers and their victims are shown. Most of the film is about one of the callers who is so beguiling that before long, many of his victims are hoping that he will call them back.

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The Telephone Book Directed by Nelson Lyon
Though this comes four years Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate in 1967, and even though those films were representative of the kind of direction Hollywood would take when it came to dealing with sexuality, The Telephone Book still transgressed boundaries that the Hollywood system was uninterested, or too afraid of, getting closer to.
April 05, 2016
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Scattered throughout the narrative proper are a series of talking-head commentaries delivered by “recovering” obscene callers. These vignettes are pitch-perfect gems of absurdist monologue, seamlessly blending scripted dialogue with flashes of improvisation. The thrust of these speeches is to insinuate that what these people come up with to occupy their time, once they’re cured of their relatively harmless fetish, is bound to be a whole lot worse.
May 14, 2013
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The film works best when it pushes towards some near-Surreal moments or when Lyon’s dialogue becomes most playful (Dolph Sweet’s monologue, full of non-sequiturs and delivered straight-on deadpan is a highlight).
September 21, 2012
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