7.2/10
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11 user 8 critic

Chicago Calling (1951)

A poor father makes monumental efforts to get money to keep his phone installed, so he can get word on his critically injured little daughter.

Director:

John Reinhardt
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Dan Duryea ... William R. Cannon
Mary Anderson ... Mary Cannon
Gordon Gebert Gordon Gebert ... Bobby
Ross Elliott ... Jim
Melinda Casey Melinda Casey ... Nancy Cannon (as Melinda Plowman)
Judy Brubaker Judy Brubaker ... Barbara 'Babs' Kimball
Marcia Mae Jones ... Peggy (as Marsha Jones)
Roy Engel ... Pete
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Storyline

A poor father makes monumental efforts to get money to keep his phone installed, so he can get word on his critically injured little daughter.

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Duryea's Finest Hour - Not to be missed
19 April 2013 | by secragtSee all my reviews

This obscure super-low budget sleeper starts like a million b-movies with a small setback and a minor overreaction. However, as noir emeritus Dan Duryea slowly navigates the ensuing fall of dominoes and swirls and eddies of fate and temptation, CHICAGO CALLING gradually, inexorably pulls itself up by its boot gathers to become nothing less than one of the most touching takes on morality and desperation I've ever seen. It's going to be hard to find (not on DVD and rarely on TCM) but this startling, heartbreaking character study is a must see for any noirist. It's that good.

A lot of the credit must go to Dan Duryea. He so convincingly played such a long line of abusive creep boyfriends and irredeemably scummy thugs, one would have been tempted to take a swing at him on the street. In this case, however, Duryea is cast as the protagonist and it is a revelation. Given the chance to emote, Duryea reveals heretofore hidden depth of emotion and angst as he struggles to find his integrity and hope as the world falls down all around him. His performance is subtle and carefully modulated so that we are forced to wait a long time for the powerful payoff, which is his ultimate emotional reveal and Duryea's best moment in forty five years on film. The young boy also deserves a lot of credit... his unlikely friendship with Duryea is believable and powerful precisely because the boy's reactions make it so. There is almost a BICYCLE THIEF quality to their relationship, and Duryea's transformation is beautifully motivated (and tested) by the boy. I defy you not to tear up at the boy's train yard scene at the end.

The Bunker Hill location photography by De Grasse is striking and evocative. The score is effective.

Look for this one, fans. Duryea's touching performance is one for the ages and the movie will handsomely reward your effort to find it.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 January 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fernruf aus Chicago See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Arrowhead Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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