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Detective Story (1951)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 19 May 1952 (Denmark)
On one day in the 21st Precinct squad room, assorted characters form a backdrop for the troubles of hard-nosed Detective Jim McLeod.

Director:

William Wyler

Writers:

Philip Yordan (screenplay), Robert Wyler (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kirk Douglas ... Det. James McLeod
Eleanor Parker ... Mary McLeod
William Bendix ... Det. Lou Brody
Cathy O'Donnell ... Susan Carmichael
George Macready ... Karl Schneider
Horace McMahon ... Lt. Monaghan
Gladys George ... Miss Hatch
Joseph Wiseman ... Charley Gennini
Lee Grant ... Shoplifter
Gerald Mohr ... Tami Giacoppetti
Frank Faylen ... Det. Gallagher
Craig Hill ... Arthur Kindred
Michael Strong ... Lewis Abbott
Luis Van Rooten Luis Van Rooten ... Joe Feinson
Bert Freed ... Det. Dakis
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Storyline

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 garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The love story of a man whose wife was more woman than angel!


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 May 1952 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

William Wyler's Production of Sidney Kingsley's Detective Story See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

In Sidney Kingsley's play, burglars Charley and Lewis are homosexuals. See more »

Goofs

About 40 minutes into the film, Jim Mcleod misidentifies himself as "Dan Mcleod of W.85 St". See more »

Quotes

Detective James McLeod: At an autopsy the other day I watched the medical examiner saw off the top of a man's skull, take out the brain and hold it in his hand.
[holds out his hand]
Detective James McLeod: Like that.
Mary McLeod: Why are you telling me this?
Detective James McLeod: Because I'd give my soul to take out my brain, hold it under the faucet and wash away the dirty pictures you put there tonight.
Mary McLeod: Dirty pictures?
Detective James McLeod: Yes!
Mary McLeod: Oh, I see. I see. Yes, that would be fine... if we could. But when you wash away what I may have put there, you'll find you've a rotten spot in your ...
See more »

Connections

Featured in Paramount Presents (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

Marche Funebre In C Minor Op. 72, No. 2
(uncredited)
Music by Frédéric Chopin
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great film; rare successful stage adaptation
8 April 1999 | by Jaime N. ChristleySee all my reviews

William Wyler, who won three Oscars for Best Director ("Mrs. Miniver", "The Best Years of Our Lives", "Ben-Hur"), and been nominated a record 12 times between 1937 and 1966, is not often thought of as one of our "great" directors. Truly, he was. Here, with the filmization of Sidney Kingsley's stage play about a NYC police station, focusing on the amazingly bad day which has been happening to Detective Kirk Douglas, Wyler shows his skill and diversity.

Kirk Douglas is the vision of a crumbling spirit disguised by toughness and authority. He towers over a stellar cast, including Eleanor Parker as his wife, William Bendix as one of the other officers in the precinct, and Lee Grant as an inexperienced shoplifter. The one actor who truly stands out from the rest is Joseph Wiseman, who is simply a spark plug made up as an actor, giving an astounding recreation of his stage role as an on-edge, cheap suit-wearing thief. He displays the physical dexterity of James Cagney in the physique of a beanstalk, and proves to be more dangerous than any other movie crook we'd seen in the past.

In one of the great Oscar follies of our time (and there were many), the 1952 voters neglected to nominate Douglas as Best Actor, or Wiseman in a supporting slot. Nominations were given out for Wyler's direction, the screenplay, and for Parker and Grant, lead and supporting actresses respectively. None for Best Picture, the other nominations were passed over in favor of "A Place in the Sun" and "A Streetcar Named Desire". And who was picked for Best Picture? Well, staying true to AMPAS's mission of picking only the most harmless movie of the year ("Driving Miss Daisy", "Chariots of Fire", "Shakespeare in Love"), instead of the best, they picked "An American in Paris", which will be remembered by film historians as merely a rehearsal for "Singin' in the Rain". Oh, well.


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