6.7/10
945
24 user 7 critic

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)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

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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

When the private investigator P.J. Pontiac describes the occasional beatings he takes at the hands of his upset clients to Detective Lieutenant Conovan and Detective Gordon, he said he's "No Humpty Bogart," and then, viewing his battered face in the mirror after they leave, exclaims "Ohh, Humpty Bogart!" The deliberate, comical mispronunciation of Humphrey Bogart's first name seems to be a dig at Warner Brother's - MGM's rival studio - biggest star, who often played private eyes. 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'M A GOODY-GOODY GIRL
(uncredited)
Music by André Previn
Lyrics by William Katz
Sung (with partial striptease) by Jean Carter
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Above average police-procedural noir shows MGM's skittish touch
29 December 2002 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

An off-duty Los Angeles police detective is shot and killed one night with an unexplained thousand dollars found in his pocket. It falls to his former partner (Van Johnson) to track down his killers and try to exonerate him. Scene of the Crime, which tells the story, stays a police procedural with a few twists and touches that raise it a notch or two above the routine.

First of all, Johnson's wife (Arlene Dahl) has fallen prey to the dissatisfactions common to her lot. She's tired of their evenings, in and out, being ruined by yet another summons to duty (`Whenever the telephone rings, it cuts me,' she cries); she tired of rolling his dice rigged to come up seven, a ritual that supposedly bids him luck.

On the job, he has his burdens, too. His new partner (John McIntyre) is getting on in years and his sight is failing. And under Johnson's wing is nestled rookie cop Tom Drake, learning the ropes. Outside the office there's an abrasive police reporter (Donald Woods) chasing the corruption angle; there's also the network of low-lifes who serve, if the pressure is right, as stoolies - most vivid of them is the young Norman Lloyd.

Word filters up that the killing was the work of a couple of downstate `lobos' who have been knocking over bookie operations. Going undercover, Johnson starts romancing a stripper one of them used to date (Gloria De Haven, in the movie's sharpest performance). Even though he's working her, he finds his emotions in play - and even though it turns out that she's working him, too, she has no emotions.

Under Roy Rowland's direction, Scene of the Crime keeps its plotting straightforward, though with some uncharacteristic bursts of violence. The movie's studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, was celebrated for its lavish color musicals, not for the unsentimental style of film noir. That probably accounts for the final shot's being a reconciliatory kiss, in hopes that such a sweet image might expunge all the urban squalor that went before it. Luckily, it doesn't.


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