frank wiecek true story
Call Northside 777 is a 1948 reality-based newspaper drama directed by Henry Hathaway. Joseph Majczek and Theodore Marcinkiewicz were two Polish-American men arrested and convicted of the murder of 57-year-old Chicago police officer William D. Lundy[1] on December 9, 1932. It reads: “$5,000 REWARD for killers of Officer Bundy on Dec. 9, 1932. Running time: 1 hour, 52 minutes This was the first Hollywood feature film to be shot on location in Chicago. At first, McNeal doesn’t believe in Frank’s side of the story: It doesn’t have much to it, other than a few sparse details.

[3] Some 11½ years later in 1944, following the intervention of Chicago Times reporters John McPhaul[4] and James McGuire, both men were exonerated of the crime.

Lloyd Nolan was originally named to play the role of Brian Kelly, but Lee J. Cobb replaced him in the end. The convictions (which the Illinois Supreme Court had affirmed as People v. Majczek, 360 Ill. 261 (1935))[5] were based largely on the testimony of eyewitness Vera Walush.

McGuire realized there was potential for a human interest story developing when he learned that the $5,000 on offer had been earned by the mother scrubbing floors at the Commonwealth Edison Company.

The police then wrote a false report stating that Majczek had been arrested on December 23, the day Walush had identified him. The Real-Life Story Behind Call Northside 777 The Crime, the Conviction, and the Search for Justice by Leonard Kurdek It is a somewhat forgotten movie, but more than sixty years after its release it is time to examine the real characters behind the 1948 movie Call Northside 777.

But McNeal, touched by Tillie’s motherly devotion to her son—and seeing a good story angle—does a write-up on Wiesek’s story titled “Slaves to save $5,000—offers it to clear her son,” with a picture of Tillie down on her hands and knees scrubbing a floor.

Zagata fully corroborated Majczek's account of the conversation in Molthrop's chambers. Green. This might have indicated that the trial judge had concerns about their convictions. Eventually, Wiecek is proved innocent by, among other things, the enlarging of a photograph showing the date on a newspaper that proves that a key witness statement was false.

The highly tumultuous Prohibition era of American history catapulted Chicago to new heights of violence. Ask for Tillie Wiesek 12-7 p.m.”.

McGuire researched the case and learned that Officer Lundy had been murdered on December 9, 1932, and that Joseph Majczek, 24, and Theodore Marcinkiewicz, 25, were convicted in 1933 at the Cook County Superior Court.[5]. Leopoldine Konstantine was originally scheduled to play the wrongly convicted man's mother, but in the end the role went to The follow-up article creates even more public interest, and soon McNeal is off to the state prison to visit Frank. To learn more, visit or contact him at, Based on a true story, “Call Northside 777” tells how Frank Wiecek (Richard Conte, in front, R), here escorted by an officer to his cell, is found innocent of murder. Will he eventually come to believe in Frank’s innocence, or will his unusual investigative techniques get him into waters too deep and dangerous for him to handle? Release Date: March 1948 (USA)

He restated this at the later trial. On August 15, 1945, Majczek received a full pardon based on innocence from Illinois Governor Dwight H. The character "Frank Wiecek" was based on a man named Joe Majczek. O'Brien also failed to cross-examine Vera Walush on her initial inability to identify him. But no retrial had taken place, as Judge Molthrop died in 1935. Further digging led McGuire to learn how Majczek and Marcinkiewicz had become suspects. ‘Call Northside 777’ Subsequently, Zagata told the Times, he thought neither of the convicted men fit his recollection of the killers. In addition to claims that Majczek appeared to have been framed, Butler also developed a substantial claim that Majczek's trial attorney, W.W. O'Brien, had performed incompetently. This leads the city editor of the Chicago Times, Brian Kelly (Lee J. Cobb), to assign reporter P.J.

Director: Henry Hathaway

Vera Walush had initially been unable to identify the killer, but after hours of interrogation she said one them could have been a man she knew only as Ted. James Stewart stars as the persistent journalist and Richard Conte plays the imprisoned Frank Wiecek. Of course, many people found a way to get to alcohol anyway, even if it meant visiting one of the many speakeasies that dotted the Windy City. Some 11½ years later in 1944, following the intervention of Chicago Times reporters John McPhaul and James McGuire, both men were exonerated of the crime. He learns that she is Tillie Wiecek (Kasia Orzazewski), Frank Wiecek’s mother.

Jury Refuses State Demand That Pair Die,", "Mother's love wins a pardon for convict, 37,", Deadlines & Monkeyshines: The Fabled World of Chicago Journalism, List of wrongful convictions in the United States, "Perjury led to Joseph Majczek's wrongful conviction for the murder of a Chicago policeman in 1933", "Life photo of Joe Majczek, Teddy Marcinkiewicz, and reporter James McGuire walking out of the jail house",, Overturned convictions in the United States, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 19 October 2020, at 23:49.

John J. McPhaul, Deadlines & Monkeyshines: The Fabled World of Chicago Journalism (Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Pretice-Hall, Inc., 1962), pp. The two suspects are hauled in for some intense bouts of questioning. The manager picked at random numbers from the phone book. McGuire went in search of Zagata and located him, still employed as a coal truckdriver and very cooperative. Initially, officials held 10 youths in custody on suspicion of killing the officer. In the following days, the Times disclosed that Vera Walush, whose testimony had been the sole evidence against Majczek and the principal evidence against Marcinkiewicz, had initially not recognised either man during the police lineup. Zagata also said that Judge Molthrop had requestioned him a few days after the verdict—the judge was particularly interested in Zagata's issues with the identification. The film parallels the true story of a Chicago reporter who proved that a man jailed for murder was wrongly convicted 11 years before. Two weeks after the crime, a bootlegger was arrested, and in exchange for not being charged, he told police that Marcinkiewicz had been staying with the Majczek family.

Eager to blame someone for the crime, the police round up a couple of Polish men, Frank Wiecek (Richard Conte) and his good friend Tomek Zaleska (George Tyne).

She quickly asks if McNeal can help her so that she can get her son out of prison since she wholeheartedly believes he is innocent of the murder. Call Northside 777 was advertised in a novel[editorializing] manner by the Valerie Theatre. If the party called answered by saying "Are you calling Northside 777," free tickets to see the show were given. Casting the film proved complex. He quickly scoffs at the ad, thinking it is some kind of scam. But he starts to change his mind, and meets increased resistance from the police and the state attorney's office, who are unwilling to be proved wrong. Whilst neither of these statements related to Majczek, O'Brien failed to object to their admission. The film received mostly positive reviews when it was first released, and again when it was released on DVD in 2004. On October 10, 1944, a classified advertisement appeared in the Chicago Times: "$5,000 REWARD FOR KILLERS OF OFFICER LUNDY ON DEC. 9, 1932.

Kasia Orzazewski. McNeal calls Northside 777 and is directed to a location where Tillie is working. In 1932, a cop is killed and Frank Wiecek sentenced to life. Zagata had been presented with a police lineup including Majczek but had been unable to positively identify Majczek.

In a heart-wrenching scene, Tillie describes how she’s been working as a cleaning lady for 11 years to save enough pennies from her meager wages to accumulate the $5,000 reward.

Call Northside 777 is a 1948 reality-based newspaper drama directed by Henry Hathaway.

When he arrives there, he finds a woman scrubbing floors on her hands and knees in the darkened halls of a building. Not Rated Eleven years later, a newspaper ad by Frank's mother leads Chicago reporter P.J. "[3] The website DVD Verdict made the case that the lead actor may be the best reason to see the film: "Its value exists mainly in Stewart's finely drawn characterization of a cynical man with a nagging conscience."[4].

Joseph Majczek and Theodore Marcinkiewicz were two Polish-American men arrested and convicted of the murder of 57-year-old Chicago police officer William D. Lundy on December 9, 1932.

He was convicted solely on the eyewitness testimony of one woman, who had seen the accused man on several occasion after his arrest, but prior to her formally identifying him in a lineup as the “shooter.”

The paper also reported that Walush had been running a speakeasy and that she had been threatened with arrest if she refused to testify against Majczek and Marcinkiewicz. Eventually, Quentin Reynolds and Jay Dratler joined Hoffman in writing the script. Rated: 4 stars out of 5, Ian Kane is a filmmaker and author based out of Los Angeles. It was reported on Jan 24, 1947, that, according to the studio, the picture would be filmed in the documentary manner.

Walush later positively identified Marcinkiewicz when he surrendered on January 23, 1933.

Like Kelly, she thinks that there is more to Frank and Tillie Wiesek’s story. [5] The real killers have never been identified. Key witnesses of dubious credibility provided damaging testimony against Marcinkiewicz.

Majczek had been sentenced to 99 years, and there had been no physical evidence of his guilt.


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