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Homicide Bureau (1939)

Approved  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  5 January 1939 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 112 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 1 critic

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 ... See full summary »


(as C.C. Coleman Jr.)


(original screen play)
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Complete credited cast:
J.G. Bliss
Chuck Brown
Richard Fiske ...
Moroni Olsen ...
Captain Haines
Norman Willis ...
Gene Morgan ...
Robert Paige ...
Lee Prather ...
Eddie Fetherston ...
Stanley Andrews ...
Police Commissioner


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


THERE'S LOTS OF LAW IN A RIGHT TO THE JAW! (original poster-all caps) See more »


Action | Crime | Drama | Mystery


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

5 January 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Investigação Criminal  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Rita Hayward played a laboratory expert for the police department in this very limited footage role. See more »

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User Reviews

Nifty "B" picture with some social commentary and science
4 April 2007 | by (NYC) – See all my reviews

With all the criminal forensics displayed on television these days it's a surprise to see a late version thirties version of it. Avoiding the autopsy part, RIta Hayworth playing a forensic expert examines murder weapons and other physical evidence. Nobody makes a big deal about her gender except at first. I was expecting to see her quit and get married by the end of the film but surprisingly she never even comes close to thinking about it. While a major part of the movie, the forensics is second to the main topic of the movie, police brutality.

The police force is under new rules passed by the city council preventing the police from roughing up the suspects. The officers chafe under the restrictions just hoping for a chance to torment the apparent villains into a confession. The brutality isn't shown, just alluded to, except in a scene where the hero cop breaks into a crook's apartment and throws him around until an accident nearly kills the crook. There's also a scene where the city politicians react to a dragnet that the police do in a desperate attempt to solve a murder.

It actually interesting until the point where the standard B movie plot dynamics take over and the film reverts to typical matinée cops and robbers complete with a kidnapping, a silly shootout and eventual redemption for the tough guy hero. The police brutality topic is, unfortunately, dropped.

Pretty good except for the standard ending.

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