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David Trask (Gary Merrill), the sole survivor of an airplane crash, takes it upon himself to contact the families of the various victims. Though he's already formed preconceived notions of his deceased fellow passengers, he's in for quite a few surprises when he meets the relatives.
His first visit is to the wife (Beatrice Straight) and son (Ted Donaldson) of a profoundly troubled doctor (Michael Rennie). His second stop is at a nightclub managed by the domineering mother-in-law (Evelyn Varden) of an aspiring actress (Shelley Winters).
Finally, he meets the invalid wife (Bette Davis) of an outwardly obnoxious travelling salesman (Keenan Wynn). After his odyssey into other people's lives, Trask gains a new perspective on his own personal travails.
Few studios could pull off the multi-story film format as well as 20th Century-Fox, and Phone Call From a Stranger is a grade-A example of that format.