1. Another film never seen and will add to the list.

    B/W film exudes more than color, and historically, to see what life looked like back then is always amazing. Much has changed in most locales and this is a good way to revisit those times.

    Thanks & Cheers!

  2. “The picture is compelling even though the pace is slow and melodrama is kept at bay.”

    Absolutely Tony, though I’ll add that Hathaway apparently made a conscious decision to achieve realism at the expense of the pace, mirroring a real-life time frame. Likewise we have naturalistic performances here, and I quite agree that it’s the “dames” who dominate the film. Among Hathaway’s works, I’d rate KISS OD DEATH (released the year before) ahead of CALL NORTHSIDE 777, but I can easily see why others might feel otherwise. As you rightly note, crack cinematographer Joseph McDonald is again in splendid form, as he negotiates what is actually (if I remember right) the very first film ever shot on location in the Windy City. I will note that while Stewart was very good, he didn’t seem to exercise the “urgency” to exonerate Conte, and seemed annoyed by the case. It took Conte 25 more years to get the role that was his most famous as Barzini in THE GODFATHER, but as you note in this brief casting he was most fine. I didn’t personally care for the use of the narration (too solemn) in this film, but it doesn’t compromise the film’s status as a formidable noir entry, but rather is just a flaw. I personally would rate THE NAKED CITY narrowly ahead, but they are certainly comparable as you suggest.

    Excellent use of Conte’s dialogue here, which is admittedly heart-felt, and terrific layout of caps. And yeah, freedom did come here at a prohibitive price – 11 years of his life and the loss of his family, and as you astutely note there is a trace of regreat in those ironic final words.

    In noir-lead-in, scope and exceptional writing, this is absolutely one of the finest posts here at FilmsNoir.net in recent months, and it motivates me to seek a re-viewing!

  3. Thanks Marcos. Yes, that shot is so 'real' in its emotional impact.

    I encourage all FilmsNoir.Net readers to visit Marcos’ blog and checkout his stunning illustrations. His new graphic novel, Framed Ink, comes out in late July:

  4. Lee

    Call Northside 777 is a decent enough film. I like Jimmy Stewart a lot, and he is good in this, although he doesn’t have a ton of range beyond his laidback persona, and therefore the Noir quotient is greatly reduced just by him being in the starring role as opposed to if Bogey, Mitchum, Sterling Haydn, etc, had been the star instead.

    Agreed on the female actors, Conte’s mom is amazing and gives a convincing, moving performance. Incredible that, if what I read on another blog is correct, they got her right off the street, a real Chicago Polish immigrant with no prior acting experience. And Betty Garble helps bolster the film’s hardboiled noir credentials with her gritty, feral performance.

    The film was compelling enough, but I felt it lacked tension towards the end – the outcome never really felt in doubt to me.

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