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Detective Story (1951)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 4,272 users  
Reviews: 57 user | 29 critic

On one day in the 21st Precinct squad room, assorted characters form a backdrop for the troubles of hard-nosed Detective Jim McLeod.

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Title: Detective Story (1951)

Detective Story (1951) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Horace McMahon ...
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Craig Hill ...
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Luis Van Rooten ...
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Storyline

Jim McLeod is a hard-nosed and cynical detective. He believes in a strict interpretation of the law and doesn't believe in turning the other cheek. The current object of his zealousness is Karl Schneider, an abortionist responsible for the death of several young women. Schneider's lawyer tells the precinct lieutenant that McLeod has his own personal reasons for going after his client. It turns out that his wife was a patient before they met, although Jim knew nothing of it. His world suddenly turned upside down, McLeod is too late in re-evaluating his priorities. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The love story of a man whose wife was more woman than angel!

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 May 1952 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

William Wyler's Production of Sidney Kingsley's Detective Story  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The play ran on Broadway for 581 performances, from 23 March 1949 through 12 August 1950. It starred Ralph Bellamy as Det. McLeod. Meg Mundy played his wife. Maureen Stapleton played Miss Hatch. See more »

Goofs

In some of the close-up shots of McLeod and Schneider in the back of the paddy wagon, McLeod's shadow can be faintly seen on the rear-projection screen showing the street behind them. (Other shadows can also be seen.) See more »

Quotes

Detective James McLeod: I built my whole life on hating my father. All the time he was inside me, laughing.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The Colgate Comedy Hour: Episode #2.21 (1952) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great film; rare successful stage adaptation
8 April 1999 | by (NAS Whidbey Island, WA) – See all my reviews

William Wyler, who won three Oscars for Best Director ("Mrs. Miniver", "The Best Years of Our Lives", "Ben-Hur"), and been nominated a record 12 times between 1937 and 1966, is not often thought of as one of our "great" directors. Truly, he was. Here, with the filmization of Sidney Kingsley's stage play about a NYC police station, focusing on the amazingly bad day which has been happening to Detective Kirk Douglas, Wyler shows his skill and diversity.

Kirk Douglas is the vision of a crumbling spirit disguised by toughness and authority. He towers over a stellar cast, including Eleanor Parker as his wife, William Bendix as one of the other officers in the precinct, and Lee Grant as an inexperienced shoplifter. The one actor who truly stands out from the rest is Joseph Wiseman, who is simply a spark plug made up as an actor, giving an astounding recreation of his stage role as an on-edge, cheap suit-wearing thief. He displays the physical dexterity of James Cagney in the physique of a beanstalk, and proves to be more dangerous than any other movie crook we'd seen in the past.

In one of the great Oscar follies of our time (and there were many), the 1952 voters neglected to nominate Douglas as Best Actor, or Wiseman in a supporting slot. Nominations were given out for Wyler's direction, the screenplay, and for Parker and Grant, lead and supporting actresses respectively. None for Best Picture, the other nominations were passed over in favor of "A Place in the Sun" and "A Streetcar Named Desire". And who was picked for Best Picture? Well, staying true to AMPAS's mission of picking only the most harmless movie of the year ("Driving Miss Daisy", "Chariots of Fire", "Shakespeare in Love"), instead of the best, they picked "An American in Paris", which will be remembered by film historians as merely a rehearsal for "Singin' in the Rain". Oh, well.


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