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Mystery Street (1950)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 28 July 1950 (USA)
A small town policeman is assisted by a Harvard professor when the skeletal remains of a pregnant prostitute turn up on a Massachusetts beach.

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(screenplay), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Grace Shanway
...
Dr. McAdoo
...
Mrs. Smerrling
...
Henry Shanway
...
Vivian Heldon
Edmon Ryan ...
James Joshua Harkley
...
Jackie Elcott
Wally Maher ...
Tim Sharkey
Ralph Dumke ...
A Tattooist
Willard Waterman ...
A Mortician
Walter Burke ...
An Ornithologist
Don Shelton ...
A District Attorney
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Storyline

Vivian, a B-girl working at "The Grass Skirt," is being brushed off by her rich, married boyfriend. To confront him, she hijacks drunken customer Henry Shanway and his car from Boston to Cape Cod, where she strands Henry...and is never seen again. Months later, a skeleton is found (sans clothes or clues) on a lonely Cape Cod beach. Using the macabre expertise of Harvard forensic specialist Dr. McAdoo, Lt. Pete Morales must work back from bones to the victim's identity, history, and killer. Will he succeed in time to save an innocent suspect? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 July 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Murder at Harvard  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sally Forrest appeared in "Mystery Street" (1950) with Elsa Lanchester and the following year (1951) was in "The Strange Door" with Elsa's husband, Charles Laughton. See more »

Goofs

Length of the chain connecting phone book to wall phone in boarding house varies from scene to scene. See more »

Quotes

Vivian Heldon: What you need is fresh air.
Henry Shanway: Yeah. Yeah, open the window, huh?
Vivian Heldon: No, not here. Fresh air couldn't get in here with a permit.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Mystery Street: Murder at Harvard (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Love of My Life
(uncredited)
Music by Cole Porter
Played by the band at the Grass Skirt
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Nice To See Noirs Like This Out Now On DVD
23 October 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This film gets some notoriety because it introduced audiences to forensic science long before "Quincy" and "CSI" became hit shows on television. But don't be misled: forensic science is only a part of this film; it is not like watching a CSI episode. It's mainly simply a crime story where we meet a bunch of characters responsible for a killing that took place.

I thought the leading characters, played by Ricardo Montalban and Bruce Bennett, were upstaged by a couple of ladies, namely Elsa Lanchester and Jan Sterling, although the latter is killed off quickly. Too bad; I always found Sterling a fascinating actress and someone well-suited for film noir. Don't get me wrong: Montalban is a solid actor, a lot more than the "Love Boat" guy people remember him for. The same goes for Bennett, but neither has a lot of spark in here. By the way, if you liked Montalban in this kind of movie, check out "Border Incident," a noir he starred in the previous year.

This particular story won't keep on edge because we know early on who is the murderer. Like a "Columbo" TV episode, the fun is seeing how the cops figure it out. "Lt. Morales" (Montalban) gets valuable help from "Dr. McAdoo" (Bennett) is piecing the case together.

It's "Mrs. Smerling" (Lanchester) who is the most fun to watch in this film. I think most viewers would agree with that.

The movie certainly gives a lot of favorable publicity to the Harvard Medical School. I remember watching this and thinking the school must have bankrolled the movie, it's gets so much positive air time.

Finally, it's nice to see this on DVD. If it hadn't been included in this "Film Nor Classics collection Vol. 4" set I probably never would have seen this film. The transfer is fine, highlighting the wonderful black and white cinematography we film noir fans so enjoy. Kudos to photographer John Alton and director John Sturges for that. Alton was behind the camera on a number of beautifully-shot film noirs of the late '40s


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