6.6/10
858
24 user 6 critic

Scene of the Crime (1949)

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

Production Co:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

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 film has many actors cast against previous types. Van Johnson had appeared in light comedies and musicals, making him a teen idol at the time. His versatility, proven in this film, would lead to his role in Battleground (1949). Gloria DeHaven has previously been cast as sweet, innocent girls, but here she is a stripper and gun moll. Arlene Dahl, who would have been expected to play the stripper, here plays a nagging wife. 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

P.J. Pontiac: Lili, a sizzler at the Fol-de-Rol. A figure like champagne and a heart like the cork.
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

Doesn't Gel
18 March 2009 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

I guess the lesson here is that you can take the crime drama out of MGM, but you can't take MGM out of the crime drama. With noirish location shots, the new Dore Schary regime changed the usual MGM look somewhat, yet the movie still boasts a string of stars and star power for which the studio was known. The trouble is that working Van Johnson, Arlene Dahl, Tom Drake, Gloria DeHaven, Donald Woods, and a string of "name" supporting players into the screenplay with sufficient screen time for each overstretches the results. Despite some effective moments (the hotel room fistfight, the fright screams from the burning car), the movie suffers from too much flab for overall effect. For example, the two rather lengthy scenes with Norrie Lorfield (Tom Helmore), the rival for Conovan's (Johnson) wife, are simply a needless distraction from the main plot, and work to dilute the overall effect. In fact, the entire marital subplot should have been dropped or at least minimized, but it seems that the studio was not satisfied with the kind of fast, efficient little crime drama that RKO, for one, routinely turned out.

I'm tempted to say that just as movie spectaculars and historical epics depend on big budgets for optimal effect, crime dramas and noirs depend on the tight disciplining constraints of small ones. That way, production values don't interfere with the story line. Here it appears that MGM's celebrated production values over-produced the number of feature players, which, in turn, multiplied the various subplots, or vice-versa. In either case, it's too bad the script didn't eliminate a few of these in favor of giving Norman Lloyd's truly memorable character, Sleeper, more screen time. He's the kind of unique character that could have transformed this otherwise forgettable exercise into a memorable one.


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