Detective Story Movie Review

It's just another day at the precinct for Jim McLeod (Kirk Douglas)... well, that's what we're supposed to think anyway.

Detective Story takes place almost entirely within a detective squad room of a police station. Originally a play, the film focuses on the dramas -- large and small -- that go on during this fateful day. A woman (Lee Grant) is hauled in for shoplifting. She spends the entire day just sitting there, waiting. Another man is brought in for stealing from his boss in order to fund his girlfriend's expensive tastes, while her sister begs for the cops to let him go. Two burglars are given the shakedown. And, in what drives the film's most critical plot forward, McLeod spars continuously with a suspicious doctor for reasons unknown. When McLoed's wife (Eleanor Parker) shows up, it'll come to a head.

Detective Story is a film from a much different era, and it's obvious from the first frame. These are gumshoes with no qualms about roughing up a suspect to get him to talk. And, most tellingly, it's a time when the treatment for getting shot in the stomach is propping the poor guy up in a chair and giving him a shot of whiskey. There's a lot of tearing of hair here, and some of the shenanigans run absurdly over the top.

While the film's histrionics haven't aged perfectly, the film is worth seeing if for nothing more than to catch Joseph Wiseman's early role as a burglar who denies everything and later gets found out. Wiseman would later go on to relative fame as James Bond's first adversary, Dr. No. His cackling mania is a bit much for a "four time loser," but it would be perfect in that fateful performance years later.


Comments

Detective Story Rating

" OK "

Rating: NR, 1951

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