Call Northside 777

Docudrama | English| 111 minutes

Info

Chicago Times editor, Brian Kelly, notices a classified ad offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the man responsible for killing a policeman eleven years earlier.  Kelly is intrigued so he asks his ace reporter, P.J. McNeal, to look into it. McNeal learns  the ad was placed by a cleaning woman, Tillie Wiecek. Tillie tells McNeal that she is convinced her son Frank is innocent and is hoping the reward will motivate someone to provide information that would exonerate him. At first, McNeal is skeptical. He believes Frank is probably guilty so he decides to write a human-interest story about a loving mother, a cleaning woman,  saving hard-earned money, to prove her son innocent.  The public response to the story is phenomenal so Kelly asks McNeal to continue digging. After interviewing Frank and his wife Helen, and after Frank passes a lie-detector test, McNeal now believes  Frank indeed might be innocent.  McNeal becomes consumed with the case as he uncovers evidence of police corruption and coverup. The dubious journalist has become an activist determined to overthrow a wrongful conviction.   

Cast
James Stewart (P.J. McNeal) / Richard Conte (Frank Wiecek) / Lee J. Cobb (Brian Kelly) / Joanne De Bergh (Helen Wiecek) / Kasia Orzazewski (Tillie Wiecek)
Why Stream This Film?
James Stewart’s role as the journalist at the Chicago Times was based on real life reporter James McGuire. Millions followed this case as it unfolded in the Chicago Times. Deservedly, James McGuire won the Pulitzer Prize that year for Outstanding Investigative Reporting.  
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 76%
Accolades
  • Edgar Allan Poe Awards: Winner, Best Motion Picture
  • Writers Guild of America: Nominated, Best Written American Drama
One of the most impressive semi-documentary noir thrillers, CALL NORTHSIDE 777 was shot on location in Chicago in striking black-and-white by cinematographer Joe MacDonald. Renowned movie nice guy Jimmy Stewart stars in a change-of-pace characterization as a hard-boiled newspaper reporter.
TV GUIDE staff

TV GUIDE

Fames Stewart gives a hard-edged performance as a jaded newspaper reporter who turns a classified ad into the story of the century.
Jeffrey M Anderson

Combustible Celluloid

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