Films featuring
Lee J. Cobb

Call Northside 777

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This fact-based account of a crusading journalist trying to exonerate a man falsely imprisoned for murder has been released under Fox’s “Film Noir” line of DVDs, even though it might not belong under that umbrella. Superficially, I guess you could say that bears some resemblance to the noir classics, namely its time period and the plot centering on urban violence and corruption, but it lacks some key elements of the genre. Its hero, city reporter P.J. McNeal (Jimmy Stewart) and the subject of his quest, Frank Wiecek (Richard Conte) are a little too pure and noble to fit under the strict definition of noir, but as a film genre, noir has proven to be most flexible. It matters little, since regardless of its classification, Call Northside 777 is a taut and involving movie.

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