A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus.
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
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 »
An assortment of detectives and an assortment of criminals, all gathered together under the oppressive 21st Precint roof. It's a day that nobody present will ever forget, for better or worse...
Directed by William Wyler (Best years Of Our Lives, Ben-Hur & Wuthering Heights) and starring Kirk Douglas, Eleanor Parker, William Bendix, Cathy O'Donnell and Joseph Wiseman.
Detective Story is based on the smash hit Broadway play by Sidney Kingsley, adapted by Phillip Yordan and Robert Wyler, it's with much relief to me that the worry of it being a stagy production never actually materialises. Practically set on one bleak, but quite excellently appropriate set (creation courtesy of Hal Pereira & Earl Hedrick), Detective Story manages to rise above its very simple plot by boasting interesting characters in a pot boiling story just waiting to peak. Each character has much to offer the film, be it oddly quirky or overtly intense, within the confines of this particular precinct, the characters create engrossing drama.
It's a difficult film to sell without giving too much away, by outlaying the character persona's and mental fortitude's, I personally feel that it will dull the impact of this influential crime genre piece. It's got real raw emotive acting, particularly from Kirk Douglas as Jim McLeod and Eleanor Parker as his wife Mary, while the technical aspects (watch Lee Garmes' camera glide like a third party witness) are impressively high. And with it embracing as it does, morality themes, it also doesn't lack for interest to the cranial head scratching crowd. It's by definition to me an all encompassing picture, one that is now sure to be a perennial viewing in my home. It's not a standard fare crime picture, and it most definitely is a talky film, but it works incredibly well, so one can only hope that many others will feel the same as me, namely that it is a fine and essential genre piece. 8/10
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