Call Northside 777

"Good"

Call Northside 777 Review


Not a movie about an air crisis, a police station, or a military action (as the title would seem to indicate), Call Northside 777 is actually one of the most mundane legal thriller/newspaperman activist stories the world has ever seen. The title, as is fitting, refers to a phone number in the movie.

James Stewart seriously runs away with this movie. As skeptical reporter P.J. McNeal, he's tasked with writing a story about a convicted cop killer, 11 years after he's been put away for life. As he investigates, he slowly encounters piece after piece of evidence which exonerates the man -- yet the corrupt Chicago legal and police system won't hear any of it. Based on a true case in 1932, Call Northside 777 was also the first film shot on location in Chi-town.

The problem with the movie is that there just isn't enough juice in it to make for an interesting cinematic experience. It's the convicted Frank Wiecek (Richard Conte) against the world: The conspiracy to put him away is a mild one that barely registers. He's just a patsy, pure and simple.

The bigger flaw is that 777 just doesn't work any more in the era of umpteen renditions of CSI and Law & Order that today's audiences are all too familiar with. The movie goes to extreme lengths to over-explain mundane criminal minutiae that we take for granted today, namely lie detector tests and, believe it or not, the process by which photos can be enlarged. The detective work Stewart's McNeal painstakingly goes through is easily in the grasp of today's fourth grader.

(Almost besde the point is that his gumshoe work is ultimately wrong. The big, final realization, which hinges on a blow-up of a photo so we can see the date on a newspaper being carried by a witness, is criminally flawed in its reasoning: Who can prove the guy wasn't carrying yesterday's paper?)

Plodding and cursory in its analysis of 1930s corruption, this is nonetheless an interesting historical set piece, anchored by the ever-dazzling Stewart, who may as well have put this on as a one-man show. He doesn't need to call anyone, as it turns out.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 112 mins

In Theaters: Sunday 1st February 1948

Production compaines: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 73%
Fresh: 11 Rotten: 4

IMDB: 7.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as P.J. 'Jim' McNeal, as Frank W. Wiecek, as Brian Kelly, as Laura McNeal, as Wanda Skutnik, as Tillie Wiecek, as Helen Wiecek (as Joanne de Bergh), Howard Smith as K.L. Palmer, as Parole Board Chairman, as Sam Faxon, as Martin J. Burns, Charles Lane as Prosecuting Attorney (uncredited), E.G. Marshall as Rayska (uncredited)

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.