A newspaper editor (LEE J COBB) sees this advert in the Personal Column of the Chicago Times and decides it needs to be investigated. Reporter P.J.McNeal (JAMES STEWART ) is reluctantly assigned. He thinks it is a waste of time. But the quest for answers leads him on a very exciting and dramatic journey.
I want to highlight the performance of an unknown Polish actress called KASIA ORZAZEWSKI. She plays Tilly Wiecek,the mother of a convicted cop killer, Frank Wiecek (RICHARD CONTE). Tilly has placed the ad.
Tilly believes in her son’s innocence and has , for 11 years,saved every penny she could in order to offer a reward of $5,000 for information on the crime ,anything that might help her son.
Kasia’s performance is so movingly believable, you just see this poor old woman whom McNeal finds at night in a building where she is employed as a cleaner, washing the stairs. He is sceptical as to how this woman could have saved $5,000 but she explains it has taken her 11 years, since her son’s conviction. And she says if it isn’t enough, she’ll save another $5,000. This actress is utterly convincing.
Later McNeal says, “I went into this thing believing nothing. I was sceptical. I figured Wiecek is using his mother to spring him,but I’ve changed my mind. This man is innocent.”
I love this film ,the Chicago locations are terrific, the cast is perfect and Kasia Orzazewski deserves recognition for her unforgettable performance .
Finding information on this actress has proved almost impossible. IMDB has her listed for just a handful of films, of which CALL NORTHSIDE 777 is incredibly her first. She was also in THIEVES HIGHWAY and had a few uncredited parts.