7.4/10
6,051
84 user 38 critic

Call Northside 777 (1948)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir | 1 February 1948 (USA)
Trailer
1:52 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

Chicago reporter P.J. McNeal re-opens a ten year old murder case.

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (screen play) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Big Clock (1948)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A career-oriented magazine editor finds himself on the run when he discovers his boss is framing him for murder.

Director: John Farrow
Stars: Ray Milland, Maureen O'Sullivan, Charles Laughton
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Concentration camp survivor Victoria Kowelska finds herself involved in mystery, greed, and murder when she assumes the identity of a dead friend in order to gain passage to America.

Director: Robert Wise
Stars: Richard Basehart, Valentina Cortese, William Lundigan
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An aeronautical engineer predicts that a new model of plane will fail catastrophically and in a novel manner after a specific number flying hours.

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: James Stewart, Marlene Dietrich, Glynis Johns
Crime | Film-Noir | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Secretary tries to help her boss, who is framed for a murder.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Lucille Ball, Clifton Webb, William Bendix
Brute Force (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

At a tough penitentiary, prisoner Joe Collins plans to rebel against Captain Munsey, the power-mad chief guard.

Director: Jules Dassin
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Hume Cronyn, Charles Bickford
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

When spy chief Bob Sharkey finds out one of his agents-in-training is actually a Nazi double agent, his strategic decision not to arrest him results in tragedy.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: James Cagney, Annabella, Richard Conte
Kiss of Death (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

With his law-breaking lifestyle in the past, an ex-con, along with his family, attempt to start a new life, knowing a betrayed someone from the past is bound to see otherwise.

Director: Henry Hathaway
Stars: Victor Mature, Brian Donlevy, Coleen Gray
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The rise and fall of Stanton Carlisle, a mentalist whose lies and deceit prove to be his downfall.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Tyrone Power, Joan Blondell, Coleen Gray
Crime | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Detective Michael Shayne and his girlfriend Joanne are on their way to be married when a scream from a nearby hotel room draws his attention to a pair of theatrical murders.

Director: Eugene Forde
Stars: Lloyd Nolan, Mary Beth Hughes, Sheila Ryan
Crossfire (1947)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A man is murdered, apparently by one of a group of soldiers just out of the army. But which one? And why?

Director: Edward Dmytryk
Stars: Robert Young, Robert Mitchum, Robert Ryan
Broken Arrow (1950)
Drama | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Tom Jeffords tries to make peace between settlers and Apaches.

Director: Delmer Daves
Stars: James Stewart, Jeff Chandler, Debra Paget
Crime | Film-Noir | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Det. Sgt. Mark Dixon wants to be something his old man wasn't: a guy on the right side of the law. But Dixon's vicious nature will get the better of him.

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney, Gary Merrill
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
Kasia Orzazewski ...
Joanne De Bergh ...
Helen Wiecek (as Joanne de Bergh)
...
...
...
Paul Harvey ...
Edit

Storyline

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. McNeal to look into the case. For some time, McNeal 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 <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It couldn't happen . . . but it did! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

1 February 1948 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Calling Northside 777  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The Chicago Daily Times merged with the Chicago Sun in 1948, the year this movie was released, and became known as the Chicago Sun-Times which is still in business as of 2011. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

P.J. McNeal: [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!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Norma Jean & Marilyn (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Chicago (That Toddlin' Town)
(1922) (uncredited)
Music by Fred Fisher
Played during the Prohibition montage
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Solid Cinematic Effort
4 February 2006 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Based on a true story, "Call Northside 777" follows P.J. McNeal, a newspaper reporter played by James Stewart, as he investigates a decade old murder case. The setting is Chicago in the 1930s and 40s.

Frank Wiecek (Richard Conte) has been convicted of a cop killing and sentenced to 99 years in prison. Convinced of her son's innocence, Frank's mother, an elderly and lowly cleaning lady, takes out an ad in the newspaper for information that will help free her son. McNeal grudgingly looks into the case, but doubts Wiecek's innocence. As the film moves along, McNeal slowly changes his perception of Wiecek.

Some viewers consider this to be a film-noir. To me, it is more of a docudrama, a staging of a real life story. The dialogue seems realistic. And the acting is low-key and credible. The film also highlights the technology of the era, including the use of the printing press, the polygraph, and a miniature camera.

But what impressed me most was the use of the Chicago locations where the real life story took place. Further, the B&W visuals are appropriately drab, dreary, and depressing, which reflects the tone of the actual events. There's very little background music, which also adds authenticity to the film. The only downside is the matter-of-fact procedural style in which the story is told, especially relative to the fatherly VO narration at the film's beginning and end. The film comes across at times as dry, and lacking emotional depth.

Devoid of cinematic hype, and told in a straightforward and plodding manner, "Call Northside 777" will appeal to people who seek realism in films. And, of course, the film's basis in fact, vis-a-vis fiction, adds to its credibility.


22 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Date on the newspaper lisabrown212
Chicagoan's please answer kmck2002
so, to what does the title refer, anyway? marble_sf
Lingering questions khaiacles
This great country like ours Noir-It-All
Help me. Who knows something what happened with Majiczek and his family? arysto
Discuss Call Northside 777 (1948) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page