Detective Story

Detective Story

Director: William Wyler

Cast: Kirk Douglas, Eleanor Parker, William Bendix

     
 

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Sidney Kingsley's Broadway play Detective Story was praised for its realistic view of an event-filled day in a single police precinct station. The film, directed by meticulous taskmaster William Wyler, manages to retain this realism, even allowing for the star-turn performance of Kirk Douglas. A stickler for the letter of the law, Detective James McLeodSee more details below

Overview

Sidney Kingsley's Broadway play Detective Story was praised for its realistic view of an event-filled day in a single police precinct station. The film, directed by meticulous taskmaster William Wyler, manages to retain this realism, even allowing for the star-turn performance of Kirk Douglas. A stickler for the letter of the law, Detective James McLeod (Douglas) is not averse to using strong-arm methods on criminals and witnesses alike in bringing lawbreakers to justice. He is particularly rough on a first-time offender (Craig Hill), on whom the rest of the force is willing to go easy because of the anguish of his girlfriend (Cathy O'Donnell). But McLeod's strongest invective is reserved for shady abortion doctor Karl Schneider (George MacReady); McLeod all but ruins the case against Schneider by beating him up in the patrol wagon. When McLeod discovers that his own wife (Eleanor Parker) had many years earlier lost a baby in one of Schneider's operations, and that the baby's father was gangster Tami Giacoppetti (Gerald Mohr), it is too much for the detective to bear. Punctuating the grim proceedings with brief moments of humor is future Oscar winner Lee Grant, reprising her stage role as a timorous shoplifter; it would be her last Hollywood assignment until the early 1960s, thanks to the iniquities of the blacklist. Despite small concessions to Hollywood censorship, Detective Story largely upheld the power of its theatrical original, and it forms a clear precursor to such latter-day urban police dramas as NYPD Blue.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
William Wyler's Detective Story was one of the more shocking and compelling dramas of its period, and a film that raised a number of issues for audiences. Anyone who thinks that Hollywood in the 1950s put out nothing but safe, unchallenging movies can start rethinking that notion with this film, whose script is filled with moral mine fields in just about every scene, along with questions about devotion to duty, the role of independent action and free will, and enough ambiguities about right and wrong to make the most rigid personalities start questioning their motives. The script, based on Sidney Kingsley's play of the same name, is potent enough, and Kirk Douglas delivers another anti-hero star turn (in a manner reminiscent of his work in Champion) as the self-destructive police detective. He gets impeccable support from a cast made up of Hollywood veterans (William Bendix, George Macready, Frank Faylen, and Horace McMahon, who landed an almost identical role in the TV version of The Naked City from his work here) and up-and-coming New York theater talent (Lee Grant, Joseph Wiseman) working at their peaks of performance. Audiences expecting a police proceedural or a clean, neat drama instead got the station house equivalent of From Here To Eternity or On The Waterfront. Detective Story's reputation has endured for decades, and it was successful enough in its time to yield a parody by The Three Stooges; it was also one of the sources of the hit TV series Barney Miller 25 years later, which transposed the same setting and dramatic material into a more comic vein.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/14/2009
UPC:
0032429065681
Original Release:
1951
Rating:
NR
Source:
Paramount
Region Code:
1

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Kirk Douglas Detective James McLeod
Eleanor Parker Mary McLeod
William Bendix Det. Lou Brody
Lee Grant Shoplifter
Bert Freed Det. Dakis
George Macready Karl Schneider
Cathy O'Donnell Susan Carmichael
Frank Faylen Det. Gallagher
Joseph Wiseman Charley Gennini, Burglar
Grandon Rhodes Det. O'Brien
Luis Van Rooten Joe Feinson, Reporter
Craig Hill Arthur Kindred
Horace McMahon Lieutenant Monaghan
Warner Anderson Endicott Sims
Michael Strong Lewis Abbott
Russ Evans Patrolman Barnes
Gladys George Miss Hatch
Burt Mustin Janitor
James Maloney Mr. Pritchett
Gerald Mohr Tami Giacoppetti
Harper Goff Gallantz
Bob Scott Mulvey
Charles Campbell Newspaper Photographer
William "Bill" Phillips Det. Pat Callahan
Edmund Cobb Ed, Detective
Howard Joslin Patrolman Keogh
Lee Miller Policeman
Mike Mahoney Coleman
Catherine Doucet Mrs. Farragut
Ann Codee Frenchwoman
Ralph Montgomery Finney
Pat Flaherty Desk Sergeant
Jack Shea Desk Sergeant
Donald Kerr Taxi Driver
Kay Wiley Hysterical Woman

Technical Credits
William Wyler Director,Producer
Lee Garmes Cinematographer
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
Earl Hedrick Art Director
Emile Kuri Set Decoration/Design
Hal Pereira Art Director
Robert Swink Editor
Wally Westmore Makeup
Robert Wyler Associate Producer,Screenwriter
Philip Yordan Screenwriter

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Detective Story
1. The Precinct [7:21]
2. Detective McLeod [7:36]
3. Interrogations [6:47]
4. Detainees [5:12]
5. Schneider Surrenders [8:03]
6. Going for a Ride [5:33]
7. Personal Motives [6:24]
8. Arthur's Story [6:19]
9. Mrs. McLeod [7:05]
10. Digging Your Own Grave [6:43]
11. Immaculate Wife [6:45]
12. Booking Arthur [8:22]
13. Compromise [4:54]
14. Vengeful Man [8:56]
15. Forgiveness [7:08]

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