Detective Story (1951) 3.86/5 (1)


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Rating: The Good – 74.4
Genre: Film-Noir
Duration: 103 mins
Director: William Wyler
Stars: Kirk Douglas, Eleanor Parker, William Bendix

“You must have been kissed in your cradle by a vulture.” Kirk Douglas puts in a tour de force performance as a morally conflicted detective who allows his near fanatical dedication to bringing criminals to justice to excuse his hard edged and even violent treatment of anyone even suspected of misdeeds. This wasn’t an easy role to pull off but Douglas handles it with ease as he keeps the audience both rooting for him and appalled at him in equal measure throughout.

The assorted characters who make their way into his precinct during the course of the single day in which the drama is set are each fascinating in their own right and played perfectly by the ensemble cast. William Bendix scores especially well as Douglas’ caring partner, a more rewarding role to the tough guy persona he was normally govern to play. Robert Wyler and Philip Yordan’s screenplay is a real treat to the ears, littered with wonderfully cutting turns off phrase and some insightful character construction. Director William Wyler contributes strongly too, allowing the tension to build up softly in the background giving the drama an increasingly taught feel which peaks right at the end. However, this movie is all about Douglas who at the time was at the height of his powers and in practically every scene demonstrated just that.

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