7.6/10
6,178
73 user 38 critic

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

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Three escaped convicts move in on and terrorize a suburban household.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Fredric March, Arthur Kennedy
Champion (1949)
Drama | Film-Noir | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Boxer Midge Kelly rises to fame...mainly by stepping on other people.

Director: Mark Robson
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Arthur Kennedy, Marilyn Maxwell
Dead End (1937)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The lives of a young man and woman, an infamous gangster and a group of street kids converge one day in a volatile New York City slum.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Joel McCrea, Humphrey Bogart
The Well (1951)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A small, racially-mixed American town succumbs to violence and utter mayhem after a white man suspected of kidnapping a missing black girl is released by the white authority.

Directors: Leo C. Popkin, Russell Rouse
Stars: Gwendolyn Laster, Richard Rober, Maidie Norman
The Letter (1940)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The wife of a rubber plantation administrator shoots a man to death and claims it was self-defense, but a letter in her own hand may prove her undoing.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Bette Davis, Herbert Marshall, James Stephenson
The Heiress (1949)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A young naive woman falls for a handsome young man who her emotionally abusive father suspects is a fortune hunter.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Olivia de Havilland, Montgomery Clift, Ralph Richardson
Criss Cross (1949)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An armored truck driver and his lovely ex-wife conspire with a gang to have his own truck robbed on the route.

Director: Robert Siodmak
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Yvonne De Carlo, Dan Duryea
Trapped (1949)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

U.S. Treasury Department agents go after a ring of counterfeiters.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Lloyd Bridges, Barbara Payton, John Hoyt
Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A frustrated former big-city journalist now stuck working for an Albuquerque newspaper exploits a story about a man trapped in a cave to re-jump start his career, but the situation quickly escalates into an out-of-control circus.

Director: Billy Wilder
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Jan Sterling, Robert Arthur
Angel Face (1953)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Ambulance driver Frank Jessup is ensnared in the schemes of the sensuous but dangerous Diane Tremayne.

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: Robert Mitchum, Jean Simmons, Mona Freeman
Film-Noir | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A woman planning to testify against the mob must be protected against their assassins on the train trip from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Charles McGraw, Marie Windsor, Jacqueline White
Certificate: Passed Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The rise and fall of Stanton Carlisle, a mentalist whose lies and deceit prove to be his downfall.

Director: Edmund Goulding
Stars: Tyrone Power, Joan Blondell, Coleen Gray
Edit

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
Edit

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 »
Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on April 26, 1954 with Kirk Douglas and Eleanor Parker reprising their film roles. 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: Detective James McLeod. In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; Oh my God, I am heartfully sorry for having offended Thee. And I detest all of my sins because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell.
Det. Lou Brody: Detective Lou Brody. But most of all, for having offended Thee my Lord Who art all good and deserving of my love, that I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace to confess my sins, to do penance and to amend my life. Amen.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms (1953) See more »

Soundtracks

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

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Great vehicle for Kirk Douglas' acting talents
15 November 2009 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

Kirk Douglas has always excelled in roles where he plays the maverick loner, walking the fine line between anger and insanity. Thus his role as Det. Jim McLeod in "Detective Story" is a real showcase for his acting talents. This is not a crime drama in the conventional sense where there is any real action or crime to solve, even though you have a room full of New York City police detectives on screen for just about the whole movie. Instead it is a character study of Jim McLeod, played by Kirk Douglas. McLeod's motivation in his work is not to solve crimes or even protect the innocent. Instead, he is motivated by a desire to root out evil by his definition of the word. Evil is something McLeod claims that anyone can easily spot. McLeod's world view doesn't differentiate between the one-time bad act of a basically good person, such as Arthur Kindred (Craig Hill), a young man who impulsively stole from his employer in a last ditch attempt to impress a girl he believed he loved, versus the misdeeds of a lifetime criminal, such as the homicidal maniac Charlie (Arthur Kindred), that has also been apprehended by the detective squad that same day.

When confronted by a mistake in the past of the person nearest to him, his own wife, McLeod is equally unforgiving. His rage and disgust is so great, you're not sure what bothers him more - the discovery of his wife's past or the failure of his own nose to sniff out the misdeed prior to this. By the time McLeod realizes his own inflexibility and lack of empathy have cost him what he loves the most, it is too late to undo the damage, and this leads to one last tragedy.

This is Douglas in an early fine if not huggable role, and is recommended viewing for that reason alone. William Bendix makes up for the lack of likability in Douglas' character as Detective Lou Brady, who likes to temper the letter of the law with a little humanity. Then there's a very young Lee Grant as a shoplifter who just can't stop babbling. Finally, there's Horace McMahon as Lieutenant Monaghan, head of the detective squad and the kind of boss we'd all like to have.


5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 73 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed