Homicide detective Mike Conovan investigates the shooting of fellow detective Monigan...who apparrently was moonlighting as guard for a bookie. He finds that all the bookies in town are ... See full summary »
Homicide detective Mike Conovan investigates the shooting of fellow detective Monigan...who apparrently was moonlighting as guard for a bookie. He finds that all the bookies in town are being robbed, most upsetting to the racket bosses who can't get normal police protection. Mike encounters blind alleys and double crosses, and is distracted by his wife's growing disenchantment. Lots of police slang. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
Van Johnson plays it a lot rougher than usual when cast as a hardboiled police detective in Scene Of The Crime. He's got reason to be hard in this case. A fellow detective has been murdered, shot down in the mean streets of Los Angeles. The victim had a thousand dollars in his pocket and may have been doing some off duty guard duty for some bookmakers. Which would make the cop and incidentally Van's friend a crooked cop.
Which among other things is what Captain Leon Ames wants Van to find out as well as bring in the killer. What Van and his squad uncover is a gang of crooks who are robbing these illegal gambling establishments, be they bookmaking parlors, dice games, poker games, whatever.
This case is the main concern of this film, but Johnson has a whole lot of other things on his plate. A partner, John McIntire, who is slowing up with age, a young detective Tom Drake who is learning the ropes as fast as Van can teach him, and his wife Arlene Dahl who would like very much for her husband to get out of the cop business.
Two other performances really stand out in this film. First Gloria DeHaven as singer/gangster girl friend who's definitely the most hardboiled character in the film. Her reasons for her actions tread into adult areas that the Code frowned on, but are still implied. Secondly Norman Lloyd you will not forget as one of Van's stool pigeons who might just be missing a whole suit in his deck of cards. Lloyd will definitely make your skin crawl.
Scene Of The Crime is a good cop drama, atypical for MGM at that time, but they would soon be doing more of these.
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