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In 1932, a cop is killed and Frank Wiecek sentenced to life. Eleven years later, a newspaper ad by Frank's mother leads Chicago reporter P.J. O'Neal to look into the case. For some time, O'Neal continues to believe Frank guilty. But when he starts to change his mind, he meets increased resistance from authorities unwilling to be proved wrong. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
The man administering the polygraph test to convict Richard Conte was the actual inventor of the polygraph or lie detector machine, Leonarde Keeler. He plays himself in the movie. See more »
When Jim wakes up after a rough night and goes to the living room and sits at the puzzle, he lights a cigarette with his right hand. When the camera changes and shots from the left from his wife's perspective, the cigarette is in his left hand. As the camera changes back and forth, the cigarette changes from his right to his left hand. See more »
[McNeal is trying to get Zaleska to name his real partner in the crime and get a chance at parole]
What have you got to lose? You're in for life now. C'mon, tell us the truth.
Sure, I could say I did it. Then maybe have a chance of getting out, like you say. And if I confessed, who would I name as my partner, Joe Doaks? I couldn't make it stick for one minute. That's the trouble with being innocent - you don't know what really happened.
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In 1932 December, in Chicago, the Polish Wanda Skutnik (Betty Garde) runs a speakeasy during the Prohibition. When the policeman Bundy is murdered inside the illegal bar, Frank W. Wiecek (Richard Conte) and his friend Tomek Zaleska are arrested and sentenced to serve 99 years each in the Illinois State Penitentiary.
Eleven years later, the Chicago Times' editor Brian Kelly (Lee J. Cobb) is curious with an advertisement offering a US$ 5,000.00 reward for information about the identity of the killers of the policeman eleven years ago. He assigns the efficient reporter P.J. McNeal (James Stewart) to interview the person responsible for the ad. McNeal discovers that Frank's mother Tillie Wiecek (Kasia Orzazewski), who is a janitor, has saved her salary for eleven years to prove the innocence of her beloved son and now is offering the reward for additional information. McNeal is skeptical and believes that Frank is a cop killer, but his matter is successful and Kelly asks him to investigate further. Soon he changes his mind and realizes that Frank is a victim of the corrupt system.
"Call Northside 777" is an engaging movie about injustice and redemption based on a true story. The names were changed but most of the location is real. Movies of trial are usually attractive and James Stewart is one of the best actors of the cinema history. The result is a great movie directed by the also excellent Henry Hathaway. The only remark is the awful line of McNeal in the end of the movie: "Aw, look, Frank, it's a big thing when a sovereign state admits an error. But remember this: there aren't many governments in the world that would do it." Terrible way to admit an error that has cost eleven years of a man's life and made him lose his beloved wife and son. My vote is eight.
Title (Brazil): "Sublime Devoção" ("Sublime Devotion")
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