7.1/10
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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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Writers:

(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
...
A Mortician
...
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

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Anything can happen !


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 July 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Murder at Harvard  »

Box Office

Budget:

$730,000 (estimated)
 »

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

Daily Variety had announced that John Indrisano would appear in the film but there's no confirmation that he's in the final cut. 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

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

 
forensics versus police work
9 September 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Ricardo Montalban is a police detective, Lt. Morales, who thinks he's caught a murderer in "Mystery Street," a 1950 noir-ish B with an excellent cast that includes Elsa Lanchester, Sally Forrest, Bruce Bennett, Jan Sterling and Marshall Thompson. The murder victim is played by Jan Sterling. Desperate to get to someone at the Cape, she picks up a guy at the bar where she works and maneuvers her way into his car, taking it to the Cape. Once he sobers up, she drives off without him. She meets the man she insisted on seeing, and he kills her.

By the time her body is found, she's nothing but bones. Morales gets help from a forensics expert at Harvard Medical School, Dr. McAdoo (Bruce Bennett) who describes the woman. Eventually this leads to the Thompson character, Henry Shanway, and Montalban believes he's got his man. As Grace Shanway, Henry's wife, Sally Forrest portrays the desperation of the situation, her grief over losing a baby, and her belief that her husband didn't kill anyone - but her doubt over whether or not he slept with the victim.

This is a highly interesting film with some wonderful Boston and Harvard location shots and good performances. Today, with technology, forensics has highly evolved, so it was fascinating to see Dr. McAdoo put the case together with 1950 knowledge.

As Morales, Ricardo Montalban is very young and handsome - in fact, a hunk - and effective in his role. When one of the victim's old boyfriends smirks at the fact that he's Hispanic, while his own family seems to have come over on the Mayflower, Morales stands up to him, sure of himself. Bennett is his usually solid self, and Jan Sterling had this type of role locked up in the '50s. The showy performance is that of Elsa Lanchester as the victim's landlady, who is blackmailing the real murderer. She's fantastic as a blowzy, nosy woman who obstructs the investigation.

Underrated film, very enjoyable.


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