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: Detective Story (1951)  ( 1449 )
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« : December 06, 2011, 12:36:21 PM »

Detective Story (1951) 7/10

Cast (Courtesy of imdb)

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    ...   Joe Feinson
    Bert Freed    ...   Det. Dakis

--- Plot synopsis: This story takes place over the course of a single day in New York City's 21st Precinct station house, as people arrested for various crimes are brought in and processed  (an abortion doctor, an embezzler, two burglars, and a shoplifter). Detective James McLeod (Douglas) is a hard-nosed detective who hates criminals with a passion. As the day progresses and events unfold, we begin to learn McLeod's motivations.

--- The film was nominated for 4 Oscars (but did not win any):

Best Director (William Wyler)
Best Writing, Screenplay (Philip Yordan and Robert Wyler)
Best Lead Actress (Eleanor Parker)
Best Supporting Actress (Lee Grant)

I disagree with 2 of the Oscar nominations: I certainly don't think it was an amazing screenplay, and I found Grant to be annoying.

---  But otherwise, the casting was spectacular. Douglas is always great, Parker was terrific, I loved Joseph Wiseman and Michael Strong as the 2 burglars, and all the other detectives were really good as well. (IMO the acting is the best part of this movie).

SPOILERS TILL END OF POST -- there are also spoilers for the movie Bullets or Ballots (1936)

According to an unsourced wikipedia paragraph  this was the first movie to depict the killing of a police officer.
"Breen and William Wyler suggested to the MPAA Production Code Committee that the code be amended to allow the killing of police officers if it was absolutely necessary for the plot. They agreed and the code was amended, lifting the previous ban on cop killing."

I don't think that is true; I remember a cop killing in one of the 30's gangster movies that was made after the Production Code started being enforced) Doesn't James Cagney kill a cop in Angels With Dirty Faces -- though  that death mostly happens off-screen; as I recall, you don't see the dead cop's face, you just see Cagney shoot the cop, then you see the cop's hand fall to the ground, so you know that he is dead, without actually showing his face/body. Not sure if they did it that way cuz it was a cop, or if in general they didn't want to show people dying in a graphic way?

And in Bullets or Ballots (1936), doesn't Edward G. Robinson's character -- a high-ranking official in the police department who has infiltrated the mob -- get killed at the end of the movie?

« : February 15, 2013, 12:45:36 AM drinkanddestroy »

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« #1 : December 12, 2011, 03:02:43 PM »

I just watched Detective Story (watching it I remember seeing it before long ago) another good tight little ensemble film and was surprised that it is listed as a noir in Selby. I suppose the case can be made for Douglas being the classic obsessed character, and the subject matter of the abortion doctor is pretty dark, but there is negligible noir lighting and camera angles. I guess a not visually noir noir, ;-)

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