“Call Northside 777” is not as good as you might think from reading the synopsis. I appreciate that the film is based on a true story but I expected a riveting thriller and got a slow-paced look at the newspaper world. The ending is fascinating… it’s just too bad that the method of getting to the last 20 minutes is painfully slow. Those 20 minutes combined with the performances by Stewart, Lee J. Cobb, Helen Walker, and Richard Conte are enjoyable, but that’s about it. I suppose that each piece of the puzzle is interesting if you look at it individually but in context, it seems like we’re moving in slow motion to get from one point to the next. I found issues with the film from the very start, particularly the opening narration about prohibition for the first 10 minutes. If I hadn’t known that Jimmy Stewart was in it, I likely would have assumed it was a documentary and turned it off. Even the title of the film has very little to do with the story. Once you start watching “Call Northside 777,” you can’t stop because you have to find out if Stewart can prove the prisoner innocent. But if you never start, you probably won’t be missing much.
[Pictured: The mystery is interesting but its development is not]