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Detective Story (1951)


Detective Story poster.jpg

This adaptation of Sidney Kingsley’s controversial hit play concerning 24 hours in the life of a NYPD precinct got the semi-doc makeover in an adaptation by Philip Yordan and Robert Wyler, director William’s brother. An impressive set contributes to the sense of theatre, in this slice of life drama that gives a lot of young actors a chance to ham it up as petty crims straight from the Actors’ Studio, or so it seems. That number includes Lee Grant, making her debut as a shoplifter, and whose last film it would be for a very long time because she was blacklisted. The main story however is Kirk Douglas, hellbent on going after a backstreet abortionist but things get nasty and personal when his colleagues discover his own wife (Eleanor Parker) availed of his services prior to their (childless) marriage. Douglas’ short temper and vigilante tactics rebound on him in every way in this febrile drama and he’s terrific in a demanding if contrived role, with William Bendix memorable as his colleague and Craig Hill (sigh!) rather good as Cathy O’Donnell’s boyfriend.

About elainelennon

An occasional movie-watching diary.

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