Synopsis

Storyline:
In 1932, a cop is killed and Frank Wiecek sentenced to life. Eleven years later, a newspaper ad by Frank’s mother leads Chicago reporter P.J. O’Neal to look into the case. For some time, O’Neal continues to believe Frank guilty. But when he starts to change his mind, he meets increased resistance from authorities unwilling to be proved wrong.
User Reviews: This is a true story.rnrnWhen a patrol cop is shot and killed, small time crook Frank Wiecek is tried for the crime and promptly sentenced to life imprisonment. Some 11 years on, tough cookie reporter P.J. McNeal gets involved with the case, the further he delves, the more he believes that Wiecek is innocent, but can he find evidence to back up his belief?rnrnFilmed in semi-documentary style by director Henry Hathaway, this James Stewart led noir thriller oozes realism from start to finish. It’s actually the lack of gloss and glamour that is the film’s trump card. Based on the real story of the Joe Majczek case in 1933, it’s filmed perfectly on location in Chicago {where the actual events happened}, gloriously mood emphasised by Joe MacDonald’s superb black & white cinematography, and scored with tonal adroitness by Alfred Newman. As intrepid Chicago Times reporter McNeal (based on real reporter Jim McGuire who was a Pulitzer Prize winner for his investigative efforts on this case), James Stewart lays down a marker for the more edgier character roles that would follow for him in the 50s. Here he plays it perfect as McNeal shifts from mere cynical newsman to an outright crusader of justice; and it’s riding along with McNeal that this human interest piece lifts itself to great crime thriller heights. Along the way we find problems are encountered and police procedural techniques are scrutinised. All may not be as it first seemed, and this mysterious element ices what was already a delightful docu-drama based cake.rnrnThere is not much else to say, it’s a film I personally highly recommend, a fascinating story that is given top care and attention from all involved, mean, moody and yes, magnificent. 8/10

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