Mystery Street (1950)

Passed  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  28 July 1950 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 1,699 users  
Reviews: 47 user | 20 critic

A small town policeman is assisted by a Harvard professor when the skeletal remains of a pregnant prostitute turn up on a Massachusetts beach.



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


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 <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

28 July 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Murder at Harvard  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Mystery Street received an Oscar nomination for Best Screen Story. See more »


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


Detective Tim Sharkey: Ha-ha, lieutenant, you're not young enough to start on this case.
Lieutenant Peter Morales: Maybe, but I'm dumb enough.
See more »


Referenced in Leverage: The Frame-Up Job (2012) See more »


The Johnson Rag
Music by Guy R. Hall & Henry Kleinkauf (uncredited)
Played on the jukebox at the Dunes Diner on Cape Cod
See more »

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User Reviews

Tight forensic murder mystery thriller - fine film noir.
22 February 2000 | by (Putney, VT) – See all my reviews

This is a forgotten piece of film noir with a clever and educational forensic angle - find the murderer when all you have to go on is a skeleton. The screenplay is top notch (the Original Story was nominated for an Oscar) as is the black and white cinematography -composition especially. The plot whips along with some clever twists and turns. Altogether a very interesting and entertaining film. Elsa Lanchester turns in an Oscar nom-worthy supporting performance as a meddling and greedy owner of a boarding house. The effect on his marriage of the incarceration of an innocent suspect is well-handled for the time. Altogether first-rate and worth a look.

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Latino awareness ahead of its time? wgregh
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Available for rent Sean1956
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