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Detective Story (1951)

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 »
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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

The role of Detective McLeod was originally offered to Alan Ladd. See more »

Goofs

In some of the close-up shots of McLeod and Schneider in the back of the paddy wagon, McLeod's shadow can be faintly seen on the rear-projection screen showing the street behind them. (Other shadows can also be seen.) See more »

Quotes

Detective James McLeod: You shouldn't drink so much. It melts the lining of your brain.
See more »


Soundtracks

Main Title
(uncredited)
from The Accused (1949)
Music by Victor Young
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Powerful Kirk Douglas Performance in NYC Precinct Drama
24 August 2006 | by dglinkSee all my reviews

Adapted from a stage play by Sidney Kingsley, "Detective Story" depicts a day at a New York police precinct in the early 1950's. The film resembles a feature-length episode of "Barney Miller" without the jokes as the detectives bring various shoplifters, petty thieves, and embezzlers into the station for booking. However, the film does not lack humor as a broad hammy performance by Joseph Wiseman and an only slightly subtler take on a Brooklynese shoplifter by Lee Grant lighten up the often heavily dramatic proceedings.

The central character, Detective Jim McLeod, is an unforgiving, by-the-book veteran, who sees the world in black and white, good versus evil, with no shades of gray in between. Kirk Douglas brings McLeod to life in one of his finest, most powerful performances. Douglas's Oscar-caliber work is matched by a fragile, deeply felt performance by Eleanor Parker as McLeod's wife, who harbors a secret from her past that, unknown to either McLeod or his wife, connects back to an on-going police case. The scenes between Douglas and Parker are among the best in the film.

Veteran director William Wyler retains most of the play's action in the central precinct room and only occasionally breaks from the claustrophobic set for a breather. Lee Garmes photographed "Detective Story" in crisp black and white, and some of the shots of New York City could be framed and hung on a wall. With a cast of top character players that includes Gladys George, William Bendix, Frank Faylen, and George Macready, the multi-character, multi-plotted "Detective Story" is a powerful, well-acted film that somehow is less often seen than its quality warrants.


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