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Call Northside 777 (1948)

Approved | | Drama, Film-Noir | March 1948 (USA)
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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:

It couldn't happen . . . but it did! 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

When P.J. MacNeal (James Stewart) is talking with Wanda Skutnik (Betty Garde), James Stewart mispronounces "libel" as "liable". See more »

Quotes

P.J. McNeal: You look nice. Will you marry me?
Laura McNeal: I did.
P.J. McNeal: Oh yeah, yeah, that's right... Thanks.
Laura McNeal: You're welcome. Just remember I'm here.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery at the Burlesque (1949) See more »

Soundtracks

Don't Fence Me In
(1944) (uncredited)
Music by Cole Porter
Played at the bar where McNeal orders a bourbon
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
This is a true story......
18 May 2008 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

When a patrol cop is shot and killed, small time crook Frank Wiecek is tried for the crime and promptly sentenced to life imprisonment. Some 11 years on, tough cookie reporter P.J. McNeal gets involved with the case, the further he delves, the more he believes that Wiecek is innocent, but can he find evidence to back up his belief?

Filmed in semi-documentary style by director Henry Hathaway, this James Stewart led noir thriller oozes realism from start to finish. It's actually the lack of gloss and glamour that is the film's trump card. Based on the real story of the Joe Majczek case in 1933, it's filmed perfectly on location in Chicago {where the actual events happened}, gloriously mood emphasised by Joe MacDonald's superb black & white cinematography, and scored with tonal adroitness by Alfred Newman. As intrepid Chicago Times reporter McNeal {based on real reporter Jim McGuire who was a Pulitzer Prize winner for his investigative efforts on this case}, James Stewart lays down a marker for the more edgier character roles that would follow for him in the 50s. Here he plays it perfect as McNeal shifts from mere cynical newsman to an outright crusader of justice; and it's riding along with McNeal that this human interest piece lifts itself to great crime thriller heights. Along the way we find problems are encountered and police procedural techniques are scrutinised. All may not be as it first seemed, and this mysterious element ices what was already a delightful docu-drama based cake.

There is not much else to say, it's a film I personally highly recommend, a fascinating story that is given top care and attention from all involved, mean, moody and yes, magnificent. 8/10


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