7.1/10
2,452
57 user 23 critic

Mystery Street (1950)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 20 August 1950 (UK)
A small town policeman is assisted by a Harvard professor when a human skeleton is found on a Massachusetts beach.

Director:

John Sturges

Writers:

Sydney Boehm (screenplay), Richard Brooks (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ricardo Montalban ... Peter Moralas
Sally Forrest ... Grace Shanway
Bruce Bennett ... Dr. McAdoo
Elsa Lanchester ... Mrs. Smerrling
Marshall Thompson ... Henry Shanway
Jan Sterling ... Vivian Heldon
Edmon Ryan ... James Joshua Harkley
Betsy Blair ... Jackie Elcott
Wally Maher Wally Maher ... Tim Sharkey
Ralph Dumke Ralph Dumke ... A Tattooist
Willard Waterman ... A Mortician
Walter Burke ... An Ornithologist
Don Shelton Don Shelton ... A District Attorney
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Storyline

Vivian, a B-girl working at "The Grass Skirt," is being brushed off by her rich, married boyfriend. To confront him, she hijacks drunken customer Henry Shanway and his car from Boston to Cape Cod, where she strands Henry...and is never seen again. Months later, a skeleton is found (sans clothes or clues) on a lonely Cape Cod beach. Using the macabre expertise of Harvard forensic specialist Dr. McAdoo, Lt. Pete Morales must work back from bones to the victim's identity, history, and killer. Will he succeed in time to save an innocent suspect? Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Anything can happen !


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 August 1950 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Murder at Harvard See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$730,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$429,000, 31 December 1950

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$775,000, 31 December 1950
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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

Mexican actor Richardo Montalbán's presence on the Boston police force is explained in the plot as a detective who usually works with the Portuguese community, which is extensive in Boston. See more »

Goofs

When Vivian is talking on the phone early in the movie, initially she has a thin band ring on her finger. During the same conversation she has on a different ring with a large stone on it. See more »

Quotes

Lieutenant Peter Morales: Is your husband here?
Mrs. Smerrling: [after a pause] Not exactly.
Lieutenant Peter Morales: Were you ever married?
Mrs. Smerrling: [Another pause] Not exactly. I... I, uh - you see, I...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Beacon Hill - Boston. 6 months ago. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Leverage: The Frame-Up Job (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

The Johnson Rag
Music by Guy R. Hall & Henry Kleinkauf (uncredited)
Played on the jukebox at the Dunes Diner on Cape Cod
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Taut, Suspenseful Crime Drama Features Great Ensemble Cast
16 July 2010 | by mikhail080See all my reviews

The somewhat generic title "Mystery Street" offers no real clue as to what is contained therein, and belies the fact that this film exhibits some very contemporary themes and devices. It is partnered with "Act of Violence" on a "film noir" DVD which offers an excellent evening of entertainment from two lesser-known movies of that genre.

Ricardo Montalban plays a Portuguese-American police detective trying to piece together the clues left behind by a skeleton found buried in the sand dunes near Hyannis, Massachusetts. The proceedings are a definite precursor to TV's "C.S.I." and similar series devoted to police forensics and procedures, and a crime lab run by Bruce Bennett at Harvard University features prominently. It's no secret to the audience who the skeletal remains are, but it is for earnest, hardworking Montalban to discover for himself.

In the process, the youthful Montalban interacts with several potential suspects and witnesses, all the while treating us to his special brand of Latin charisma that made him so popular with female audiences. He's in fine form, confident and looking great in a trench coat and fedora, although sometimes his accent gets a tad in the way.

The stellar supporting cast includes fabulous Elsa Lanchester as an avaricious and corrupt landlady who soon finds herself in over her head. Her expert dramatics are priceless, and she is allowed ample screen time to flesh-out a unique character who is both compelling and repulsive. Next mention should go to beautiful Jan Sterling in a pivotal role of a cynical but desperate dance hall girl looking to strike it rich. Marshall Thompson and Sally Forrest appear as a young married couple with their share of problems and more than a few secrets. The rest of the cast is filled with great little cameo performances, most with one scene each in rapid-fire succession.

So fans of classic police drama will find much to enjoy in "Mystery Street," a movie which certainly foreshadows current trends in that genre, and gives fine actors a great showcase for their talent.

**** out of *****


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