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J. Carrol Naish
After being criticized by the Citizens' League for his inability to cope with a crime wave, Police Captain Haines orders his men in the Homicide Bureau to clean up all their cases, but without violating the constitutional rights of any suspect. Detective Jim Logan is ordered to meet the incoming new-head of the Police Department lab and internal affairs, J.G. Bliss, and takes an instant dislike to her over her attitude toward criminal's rights. A murder case is turned over to Jim. Chuck Brown, the killer, informs his gang boss, Briggs, that their blackmailer has been killed and Briggs continues with his preparations to ship a cargo of scrap metal metal to foreign war lords to be used for munitions manufacture. Jim arrests Chuck, but if forced by Miss Bliss to release him on grounds of insufficient evidence. In an attempt to force a confession from Chuck, Jim goes to his apartment and, in a scuffle, causes him to fall through a window. The aroused Citizens' League, through its ... Written by
Les Adams <email@example.com>
Bruce Cabot is a detective who is angry that so often gangsters get away with their crimes because of stupid things like the Bill of Rights! When time and again the cops are thwarted, he suggests pretending these civil rights no longer exist (or at least temporarily put on hold). At one point, he says basically "just let me beat the truth out of him" to the Captain! However, despite this start, the film is actually NOT a "let's beat the gangsters to a bloody pulp" film, but excels at showing the forensic work the police and police labs (headed by Rita Hayworth in a bit of unusual casting) do in order to catch criminals. Plus, in order to keep the film from being too cerebral and low-key, there is some dandy action as well--particularly during the exciting ending.
While so often the term "B-movie" has come to mean a cheap or badly made film, HOMICIDE BUREAU is evidence that just because the production values are lower than a big-budget film doesn't mean the film is second-rate. Sure, Bruce Cabot and the then unknown Rita Hayworth were not particularly famous at the time, but they were good actors and the writing is far better than a typical crime film. In fact, compared to the gangster and cop films being made by rival (and bigger budget) studio, Warner Brothers, this Columbia picture seems far more realistic and less formulaic. One reason the film worked so well is that I THOUGHT by introducing Miss Hayworth that the film would become a clichéd "women have no place in a man's world" diatribe, but the fact that she was a woman (and a beautiful one at that) was not an important part of the film--the police came to accept her very quickly and the film centered instead on good old fashioned police work. The bottom line is that the film still holds up well today and held my interest throughout.
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