And the line seems to be dead

Hello everyone,

At the beginning of the 1948 movie Shanghai Chest there is a phone conversation between Judge Armstrong’s secretary and an operator:

  • Operator.
  • Operator, someone answered the phone and the line seems to be dead.
  • Just one moment please. I’ll ring again. Sorry, the receiver must be off the hook. That line is still open.

Does “and the line seems to be dead” (if I heard it correctly) mean in this context “and it seems that the connection got cut off as if someone had hung up the phone?”

And would it be correct to add “now” to the sentence, for example, and the line seems to be dead now/and now the line seems to be dead?

The scene in questions starts at 3.32.

Thank you.

Yes it means the connection got cut off
It’s hard to hear exactly what she says, but I believe it’s “now the line seems to be dead.”

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Usually a dead line means there is nothing at all. No sound, no ringing, no dial tone.

In this case, the man got hit on the head and knocked out. So he was no longer saying anything. The woman did not hear anything after that. So she told the operator that the line was dead.

The operator checked and said the line was still open, meaning it still had a connection. It was still connected, but there was no sound because the man was knocked out.

So the line was not really dead. The woman just thought it was dead because there was no sound. If it gets disconnected, the other end will normally get a dial tone. But she heard nothing at all.


Thank you, Arinker.

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Thank you, NearlyNapping.