6.7/10
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Scene of the Crime (1949)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 19 December 1949 (UK)
Homicide detective Mike Conovan investigates the shooting of fellow detective Monigan...who apparrently was moonlighting as guard for a bookie. He finds that all the bookies in town are ... See full summary »

Director:

Roy Rowland

Writers:

John Bartlow Martin (story "Smashing the Bookie Gang Marauders"), Charles Schnee (screenplay)
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Van Johnson ... Mike Conovan
Arlene Dahl ... Gloria Conovan
Gloria DeHaven ... Lili
Tom Drake ... Detective 'C.C.' Gordon
Leon Ames ... Police Captain A.C. Forster
John McIntire ... Detective Fred Piper
Donald Woods ... Bob Herkimer
Norman Lloyd ... Sleeper
Jerome Cowan ... Arthur Webson
Tom Powers ... Umpire Menafoe
Richard Benedict ... Turk Kingby
Anthony Caruso ... Tony Rutzo
Robert Gist ... P.J. Pontiac
Romo Vincent ... Hippo
Tom Helmore ... Norrie Lorfield
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Storyline

Homicide detective Mike Conovan investigates the shooting of fellow detective Monigan...who apparrently was moonlighting as guard for a bookie. He finds that all the bookies in town are being robbed, most upsetting to the racket bosses who can't get normal police protection. Mike encounters blind alleys and double crosses, and is distracted by his wife's growing disenchantment. Lots of police slang. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Be there when it happens! (Posters).


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 December 1949 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

A Cena do Crime See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$761,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This noirish crime drama was an unusual genre for MGM, and especially for its stars, Van Johnson and Gloria DeHaven. It reflected the influence of new production chief Dore Schary who had recently moved from RKO. In only a few years, Schary would replace Louis B. Mayer. See more »

Goofs

When Detective Piper introduces the young man that sold the .38 S&W revolver to the cop killer to detective Conovan the man says he sold the gun to a man in a bar. Conovan then grills the man about his getting a lousy eighty bucks for the gun that killed his former partner. But at no time did the man mention getting eighty bucks for the gun. See more »

Quotes

Lili: What'll they throw at me?
Mike Conovan: The book.
Lili: The book! There's a crime on every page to fit me.
See more »


Soundtracks

I CALL MYSELF A LADY
(uncredited)
Music by André Previn
Lyrics by William Katz
Sung (with reverse striptease) by Gloria DeHaven
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Routine cop drama...and which came first?
20 September 2006 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Did, as some people think, "Scene of the Crime" invent the cop drama clichés that have been a mainstay of television and film for so long? Or were they already established and just copied by this film? Not being an expert in the genre, I don't know. I do know that despite attempts by some people to elevate this movie to film noir status, it's not that great. Dore Schary put this into production when he took over MGM. I guess he wanted MGM to be more like Warner Brothers. It stars Van Johnson, Arlene Dahl, John McIntyre, Leon Ames, and Gloria DeHaven.

When a cop is killed with a roll of dough found on him, his fellow officers set out to investigate the crime and clear the man's name.

"Scene of the Crime" is similar in its way to "Dragnet" - it shows the daily grind of detectives as they put together a case. There are a couple of very good scenes, including one in which Mike (Van Johnson) arrests a suspect, and shooting starts when they get outside of the apartment building. Still handcuffed to Mike, the perp jumps into a building stairwell. There's also a good car chase.

For some reason, Van Johnson did these baby-faced tough guys well - perhaps it was his New York accent, but he pulls off the role of the dedicated Mike. He was set to be Elliot Ness in the TV "Untouchables" when his wife Evie called Desi Arnaz the night before and held him up for more money. Arnaz called Robert Stack and told him to report to the set the next day. A friend of mine who has lived in LA for over 50 years and socialized with many stars said that Arlene Dahl was the most beautiful woman of everyone he had met. Seeing her in this, you can believe it. She is a spectacular beauty if her acting in some spots isn't the best. Gloria De Haven, usually a vibrant ingenue, plays against type as a tramp, which makes it interesting.

"Scene of the Crime" is gritty-looking enough but suffers from being slow in spots and loaded with clichés. There isn't anything to make it truly special. That could be because by now, we've seen it all before. Perhaps in 1949, it was fresh. But I have my doubts that even back then, it broke any new ground.


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