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The Detective (1968)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Thriller | 28 May 1968 (USA)
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Police detective Joe Leland investigates the murder of a homosexual man. While investigating, he discovers links to official corruption in New York City in this drama that delves into a world of sex and drugs.

Director:

Gordon Douglas

Writers:

Abby Mann (screenplay), Roderick Thorp (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Frank Sinatra ... Joe Leland
Lee Remick ... Karen
Ralph Meeker ... Curran
Jack Klugman ... Dave Schoenstein
Horace McMahon ... Farrell
Lloyd Bochner ... Dr. Roberts
William Windom ... Colin MacIver
Tony Musante ... Felix
Al Freeman Jr. ... Robbie
Robert Duvall ... Nestor
Pat Henry Pat Henry ... Mercidis
Patrick McVey Patrick McVey ... Tanner
Dixie Marquis Dixie Marquis ... Carol Linjack
Sugar Ray Robinson Sugar Ray Robinson ... Kelly
Renée Taylor ... Rachael Schoenstein
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Storyline

Police detective Joe Leland investigates the murder of a homosexual man. While investigating, he discovers links to official corruption in New York City in this drama that delves into a world of sex and drugs. Written by Regis M. Donovan <regis@apocalypse.org>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

You're Joe Leland, detective. And you sit behind this desk in a city crawling with every crime in the book. And then along comes one as dirty as knee brought right up to your stomach. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 May 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Detektiv See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,490,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Frank Sinatra played Detective Joe Leland from the novel "The Detective" by Roderick Thorp. Thorp wrote a sequel ("Nothing Lasts Forever") in which Leland is trapped in a Claxxon Oil Corporation skyscraper after it's taken by German terrorists, and must rescue his daughter and grandchildren. Twenty years later the novel was filmed with some changes: the daughter became his wife, Claxxon became the Nakatomi Corporation, and Joe Leland's name was changed to John McClane. The film was released under the title Die Hard (1988). Because of a clause in Sinatra's contract for "The Detective", which gave him the right to reprise his role in a sequel, he was actually the first person offered the McClane role, even though he was seventy-three-years-old at the time. Also, coincidentally, Bruce Willis (who played McClane) made his movie debut in The First Deadly Sin (1980) walking out of a bar as Sinatra walked into it. Additionally, Lloyd Bochner played Dr. Wendell Roberts in this movie. His son, Hart Bochner, played Harry Ellis in Die Hard (1988). See more »

Goofs

Leland is searching Dr Robert's office when the doctor walks in. A few minutes later, they're in the doctor's house on the beach. See more »


Soundtracks

Laura
Written by David Raksin
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User Reviews

 
Big Town Corruption
16 May 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

In this film done one year before the Stonewall Riots we get a picture of corruption and homophobia in the NYPD. The Detective should be required viewing for those who want to know about the days before Stonewall when as a people we were subject to routine abuse and violence.

A nude man is found murdered in his apartment which usually spells one thing, a homicide with gay overtones. Such an occurrence allows the police to be more brutal than usual all in the pursuit of a killer.

Back in those days it's hard for people today to believe how bars that catered to gay people were the subject of random police raids, usually because the cops didn't get their payoffs. In those days just being in one of those places could constitute an arrest for disorderly conduct and if you touched a member of the same sex and not necessarily in a sexual way that could land you in jail for some time, unless you had the money to pay your way out.

A man's been killed and suspicion falls on a street punk played by Tony Musante. Frank Sinatra plays a cop who has a specialty in extracting confessions and he does it the hard way, without the rubber hose. Miranda was new at the time, so they can't beat it out of Musante as per normal. Musante confesses he gets convicted and he gets the still operative electric chair.

But right after Musante is killed, prominent citizen William Windom jumps to his death from the roof at Aqueduct racetrack. Sinatra is again the detective and connections are established with the two deaths. Sinatra's investigations are opening a lot of doors powerful folks just don't want opened. In this he has the support of Windom's widow Jacqueline Bisset.

Sinatra's dealing with some personal problems at the same time. His marriage is breaking up because it turns out his wife, Lee Remick is a nymphomaniac. Still it's the story of the two gay related deaths that dominate the film.

The Detective boasts one of Frank Sinatra's best latter film performances. Sinatra eschews the hipster mannerisms and delivers a straightforward performance as an honest Serpico like cop in the midst of big town corruption.

In the supporting cast I liked Ralph Meeker as a sleazy cop on the take who's quite willing to stop Sinatra any way he can. Also Jack Klugman as Frank's honest sidekick and Renee Taylor as his wife.

Forty years after The Detective came out who would have thought in 1968 that we would have something called the Gay Officers Action League among the police fraternal societies in New York and many other metropolitan police forces. Their organized presence in police departments have gone a long way in bringing a sensitivity and awareness for the GLBT community.

And this review is dedicated to two out police officers now retired from the job that I knew and worked with in New York City when I was at Crime Victims Board. To Detectives Vanessa Ferro and Mark Caruso who are the finest of the finest in New York and to all the other out gay law enforcement officials.


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