7.6/10
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Detective Story (1951)

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

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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
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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:

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Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 May 1952 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Histoire de détective 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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At 20 minutes and 10 seconds, Eleanor Parker's performance in this movie is the shortest to ever be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar. See more »

Goofs

In some of the close-up shots of McLeod and Schneider in the back of the paddy wagon, McLeod's shadow can be faintly seen on the rear-projection screen showing the street behind them. (Other shadows can also be seen.) See more »

Quotes

Detective James McLeod: At an autopsy the other day I watched the medical examiner saw off the top of a man's skull, take out the brain and hold it in his hand.
[holds out his hand]
Detective James McLeod: Like that.
Mary McLeod: Why are you telling me this?
Detective James McLeod: Because I'd give my soul to take out my brain, hold it under the faucet and wash away the dirty pictures you put there tonight.
Mary McLeod: Dirty pictures?
Detective James McLeod: Yes!
Mary McLeod: Oh, I see. I see. Yes, that would be fine... if we could. But when you wash away what I may have put there, you'll find you've a rotten spot in your ...
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The Colgate Comedy Hour: Episode #2.21 (1952) See more »

Soundtracks

Marche Funebre In C Minor Op. 72, No. 2
(uncredited)
Music by Frédéric Chopin
See more »

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User Reviews

Brilliant
13 March 2008 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Detective Story (1951)

**** (out of 4)

William Wyler's brilliant drama about a police detective (Kirk Douglas) who breaks his back trying to put criminals behind bars but there's a secret from his wife that's going to toss all his beliefs in the air. The last time I watched this film was when I was around eleven years old and it left a vivid aftertaste in my mouth after all these years. At the time I was just expecting another "old, dated" film but the realistic nature of this film remains quite powerful and very brutal even in today's jaded world. The entire cast delivers strong performances from the lead Douglas to the smallest of parts in the film. These performances certainly help the film seem all the more real, which is an added bonus. The best performance is of course the one by Douglas who brings all that energy and power to the film. Watching his character slowly breakdown and eventually lose it is something hard to forget.


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