Bill Cannon (Dan Duryea) loses everything to alcohol: his job, his family, his self-respect. Soon after his wife and daughter leave him, he receives word his little girl has been injured in a car accident outside Chicago. His wife will call later with news, but Bill's short the $53 he needs to keep his phone from being disconnected. Filled with anguish, he heads out onto the Los Angeles streets to find some way to come up with the cash. As his character encounters expected cruelty and unexpected kindness, Duryea takes what might have been mere melodrama and turns it into a perceptive examination of one shattered soul. The other fine star of this race-against-the-clock programmer is an unglamorous, lunch-bucket L.A. rarely captured on film.
Alcoholic Bill Cannon's (Dan Duryea) past sins catch up with him in CHICAGO CALLING. Cannon's daughter Nancy (Melinda Plowman) is seriously injured in an accident while out of town, and his wife Mary (Mary Anderson) has promised to call him back as soon as she learns the result of Nancy's operation. Unfortunately, Cannon's phone service is cut off for nonpayment, forcing him to go begging for the $50 necessary to square his phone bill. Only through the kindness of waitress Peggy (Marsha Jones) and telephone engineer Jim (Ross Elliot) is Cannon able to make the crucial call to his wife. Alas, the operation has proved unsuccessful. Will the impact of this tragedy push Cannon over the brink, or will it inspire him to seek out a new lease on life'
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