The Slender Thread, suggested by a May 29, 1964, Life article by Shana Alexander (wife of producer) of an actual ocrurence, is supercharged with emotion and dramatic overtones. As a showy vehicle for talents of Sidney Poitier adn Anne Bancroft, the production offers mounting tension, but good as the picture is it could have been improved through more lucid writing. Story is of a distraught woman who has taken an overdose of barbiturates and phones a clinic. Film takes its title fromt he telephone line which suddenly becomes a slender thread by means of Poitier, a college student volunteer who answers femme’s call, must try to save her life without breaking the connection.
Poitier, who remains on the telephone almost the entire unreeling of the picture, delivers a compelling performance, matched by Bancroft as the tortured wife and mother who attempts suicide when she sees her marriage of 12 years going down the drain.
Film is kept on a realistic level. The two stars never meet, their sole contact strictly telephonic.
1965: Nominations: Best B&W Costume Design, B&W Art Direction