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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Moroni Olson and Paul Harvey appeared in Father of the Bride (1950) and Father's Little Dividend (1951). 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 »
[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. But if I confessed, who would I name as my partner, Joe Doakes? I couldn't make it stick for one minute. That's the trouble with being innocent. You don't know what really happened. I didn't do it. Me and Frank had nothin' to do with it.
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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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