7.4/10
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92 user 42 critic

Call Northside 777 (1948)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir | March 1948 (USA)
Trailer
1:53 | Trailer
Chicago reporter P.J. McNeal re-opens a ten year old murder case.

Director:

Henry Hathaway

Writers:

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

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
James Stewart ... P.J. McNeal
Richard Conte ... Frank Wiecek
Lee J. Cobb ... Brian Kelly
Helen Walker ... Laura McNeal
Betty Garde ... Wanda Skutnik
Kasia Orzazewski Kasia Orzazewski ... Tillie Wiecek
Joanne De Bergh Joanne De Bergh ... Helen Wiecek (as Joanne de Bergh)
Howard Smith ... K.L. Palmer
Moroni Olsen ... Parole Board Chairman
John McIntire ... Sam Faxon
Paul Harvey ... Martin Burns
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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:

There's a beat in the pulse of this picture that becomes your very own! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Polish

Release Date:

March 1948 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Calling Northside 777 See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The man administering the polygraph test to convict Richard Conte was the inventor of the polygraph or lie detector machine, Leonarde Keeler. He played himself in the movie. See more »

Goofs

It wasn't necessary to enlarge and actually see the date of the newspaper to determine the date of the issue. Since the layout of a newspaper's front page changes daily, and the front page was visible in the photo without high magnification, even if somewhat blurry it would have been sufficient to tell which day's issue it was when compared to archival copies, especially since the day had been determined to within a very small range of possibilities. 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

Edited from In Old Chicago (1938) See more »

Soundtracks

Please Don't Say
No""
(1944) (uncredited)
Music by Sammy Fain
Words by Ralph Freed
Played at the bar where McNeal orders a bourbon
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Nailing Down the Facts
11 August 2006 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Call Northside 777 has James Stewart patiently trying to nail down enough facts to get Richard Conte a pardon from a murder for which he was falsely convicted. The tale is told in the documentary style that Henry Hathaway developed post World War II and that Darryl F. Zanuck used in several 20th Century Fox films.

On orders from editor Lee J. Cobb, Stewart checks out the source behind a small personal advertisement in the Chicago Sun-Times where he works. The ad is placed by Richard Conte's mother who works as a cleaning woman and saved enough money to offer a reward of $5000.00 for information clearing her son.

Back during the last days of Prohibition, Conte and another man were sent up for killing a Chicago policeman in a grocery store that fronted for a speakeasy. Conte was convicted mainly on the eyewitness testimony of the owner of the establishment Betty Garde.

Stewart gradually comes to believe in Conte's innocence and works tirelessly on his behalf. The best single performance in this film is by Betty Garde. A real portrait in evil that one is.

This has always been a film I've had an identity with. I had a similar situation in my former job with NYS Crime Victims Board. I had a case where a man sustained multiple injuries including the loss of a leg when a car drove up on a sidewalk and hit him. The report was never written up as any kind of crime, just an accident. The driver was given a summons and that was that.

I did a lot of work to prove the police were wrong in their action and it took two years, but I gathered enough evidence and my claimant was declared a crime victim and received the benefits from my former agency. The perpetrator was never charged with anything, but that was not in my mandate. Nevertheless I know exactly what Jimmy Stewart had to prove and how hard it is. The police even more than most of us do not like to admit they are wrong.

Call Northside 777 is a nicely done documentary style feature which is a great lesson in what a man with determination can accomplish.


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