9 May 2014 | ma-cortes
Absorbing Docudrama with interesting intrigue , powerful acting and perfect filmmaking
Documentary-style and intriguing film based on facts about an unjustly imprisoned man . Actually, this film was based on a true story. Some elements, especially characters names, were fictionalized out of necessity, such as some central figures to the story were still living at the time of production, and had not given permission for their names to be used . It deals with a hard-boiled Chicago reporter P.J. McNeal (James Stewart) assigned by his publisher (Lee J Cobb) to investigate a strange information . As the cunning reporter finds himself in the crux of an important investigation uncovers new new clues in Wiecek case and unravels police cover-ups and missing evidence pointing to an imprisoned man's innocence . As he ferreted around until he found out the truth about a 12-year-old killing case . The journalist follows up a newspaper as offering 50000 dollars for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of a police killer . MacNeal right up to the ending agonising attempts to prove the innocence of of the inmate sent down for a killing he didn't do . The unjustly imprisoned for 11 years in real life was Joseph Majczek. After being released from prison in 1945, he worked as an insurance agent in Chicago. For his wrongful imprisonment, the State of Illinois awarded him $24,000, which Majczek gave to his mother Tillie. Majczek eventually remarried his wife with whom he had divorced while he was in prison
Docudrama/thriller based on the actual facts about Joe Majczek and the Pulitzer Price winning reporter Jim McGuire who through a deep investigation , found enough evidence to have the case reopened . This is a thrilling picture , as you get completely absorbed in its vision , captivating every step of the way thanks to pacy filmmaking and awesome interpretations . Interesting as well as thought-provoking plot with an incident-filled script by Jerome Cady and Jay Dratler based on articles by James P. McGuire and Jack McPhaul . Very good acting by the great James Stewart as an obstinate journalist who slowly comes to realize that there was a miscarriage of justice . Secondary cast is frankly excellent such as Lee J Cobb , E. G. Marshall , Moroni Olsen , Charles Lane and Helen Walker as wife . First credited film role of John McIntire, who portrayed Sam Faxon and Thelma Ritter's role as the police captain's secretary was mostly deleted from the released print, but she can still briefly be seen and heard in one scene . And film debut of Kasia Orzazewski who portrayed Tillie Wiecek, mother of the second lead character of Frank W. Wiecek.
Evocative cinematography in black and white by Joseph MacDonald .This film was photographed in the State of Illinois using wherever possible, the actual locales associated with the story. "Call Northside 777 ¨ (1948) was actually the very first Hollywood produced feature film to be shot entirely on location in Chicago . Many famous landmarks, such as the Chicago Merchandise Mart, Holy Trinity Polish Mission, and the Wrigley Building on North Michigan Avenue, can be seen throughout the film. Emotive as well as atmospheric musical score by the classical Alfred Newman . The motion picture was stunningly directed by Henry Hathaway . Henry was a craftsman who had a long career from the 30s with successful films , and especially Westerns , as ¨Brigham Young¨ and ¨Raw Hide¨ . In his 60s Hathaway still got the vigour to make some fiery movies as ¨From Hell to Texas¨, ¨How the West was won¨, ¨Nevada Smith¨, and ¨Shoot out¨ . Hathaway also directed Noir genre as ¨Kiss of Death¨, ¨The House on 92nd Street¨ , ¨Niagara¨, ¨23 Paces to Baker Street¨ , adventures as ¨The last safari¨ , ¨Prince valiant¨ , ¨White rose¨ , ¨White Witch Doctor¨ and other kind of genres .