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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Approved, MPAA, certificate number 12397. See more »
Continually throughout the film, McNeal incorrectly refers to Springfield and Joliet as "up there", when really these cities are southwest of Chicago. Then, when visiting Springfield, he incorrectly refers to Chicago as "down there" while Chicago is really to his north. This is the opposite of how Illinoisans would refer to these areas. Springfield and Joliet are south of Chicago and are always referred to as "down there" or, more often, "downstate," from a Chicagoan's point of view. When visiting Springfield, you'd go back "up" to Chicago. Illinoisans' terminology of "up there" and "down there" always respectively follow the north and south directions of the map. In addition, when Kelly says he stopped at the prison outside Joliet while on his way to Decatur, McNeal suggests this is just an excuse as Decatur is in the opposite direction; in fact, Decatur is in central Illinois, and Joliet would indeed be on the way there from Chicago. See more »
[to warden, after trying to talk Tomek into confessing to get parole]
You must run a nice jail: this guy doesn't want to get out either!
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Call Northside 777 is a genuinely engaging film. It has reliable James Stewart as an investigative reporter on a story about an alleged cop killer in prison. At first he believes that the prisoner is guilty but then becomes convinced otherwise and is willing to risk his professional reputation on clearing him. The pace of the film is told like a gritty docudrama with no dramatic musical underscore for effect. But more importantly, this film is interesting to watch for a time capsule of post WWII Chicago. The Chicago Times, the police precincts, the ethnic neighborhoods that existed then and a whole sequence of a wireless photo copier. This is generations before the fax machine was ever conceived. This film is important as Stewart was beginning his maturing film roles in the postwar period and taking on good narrative stories and less goodguy next door roles which were going out of fashion.
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