Lee J. Cobb


Call Northside 777

In 1945, director Henry Hathaway collaborated with the FBI and 20th Century Fox to make The House on 92nd Street. The film was an obvious handjob to the FBI meant to paint them in a positive light while presenting their twisted uptight version of justice. The pseudo-documentary style would be utilized three years later in Hathaway’s Call Northside 777 (as well as numerous other post-war films). It’s based on the true story of a Chicago reporter who proved that an innocent man was rotting in prison for the murder of a cop 11 years before. This film sorta wavers on the fence between documentary and noir tradition of the 1940s, meaning it never dips into bleak territory or wallows in cynicism as it examines the American judicial system. However, it certainly doesn’t trust ol’ Lady Justice either, the crooked bitch that she is.