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Detective Story

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Actors: Kirk Douglas, Eleanor Parker, William Bendix, Cathy O'Donnell, George Macready
  • Directors: William Wyler
  • Writers: Robert Wyler, Philip Yordan, Sidney Kingsley
  • Producers: William Wyler, Lester Koenig, Robert Wyler
  • Format: Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: Paramount
  • Release Date: Oct. 25 2005
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #63,498 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

An embittered cop leads a precinct of characters in their grim battle with the city's lowlife while wife Parker suffers from neglect. Based on Sydney Kingsley's Broadway play, this seminal movie was a prototype for everything from "Hill Street Blues" to "NYPD Blue." Academy Award Nominations: 4, including Best Director, Best Actress--Eleanor Parker, Best Screenplay.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Paramount Pictures presents "DETECTIVE STORY" (1951) (103 min/B&W) (Fully Restored/Dolby Digitally Remastered) -- "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.

An immensely powerful film with Douglas in top form.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x983fba14) out of 5 stars 50 reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x985ddb88) out of 5 stars Outstanding Kirk Douglas Movie Aug. 23 2005
By Terence Allen - Published on
Format: DVD
Detective Story, based on a Broadway play, is one of Kirk Douglas' finest performances. Playing a New York city police detective, the movie plays out like a day-in-the life of Douglas' character and his precinct, with an assorted cast of characters.

But Douglas dominates the proceedings. His detective is full of razor-sharp anger and vitriol, which has carried over into his personal life. Douglas plays it to the hilt,and his supporting cast is excellent, including Eleanor Parker, William Bendix, Joseph Wiseman, and Horace McMahon.

A mixture of police procedure, comedy, drama, and outright tragedy, Detective Story has been long overdue for DVD release.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x985dd678) out of 5 stars Raw Depiction of Policework Nov. 24 2005
By David E. Baldwin - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Though adapted from a stageplay "Detective Story" feels neither stagey or dated. I attribute that to an excellent script that is centered on character developement and not as a straight police procedural. It's interesting as an examination of policework pre-Miranda. What is also interesting is that it is the earliest film to tackle, though implicitly, the issue of abortion that I can recall. Kirk Douglas' account of Jim McCloud, a detective so myopic that he sees no gray areas in fighting crime and allows it to spill into his personal life, gives one of the best performances of his career here. The underappreciated Eleanor Parker is excellent as McCloud's wife. William Bendix as McCloud's hard-drinking yet compassionate partner is also outstanding. Lee Grant and Joseph Wiseman give colorful turns as a shoplifter and burglar, respectively. Also noteworthy is the presence of George MacCready who later appeared with Douglas in Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece, "Paths of Glory", in the cast.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x985e045c) out of 5 stars Detective Story June 25 2007
By John Farr - Published on
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Before "Homicide" or "Hill Street Blues" came this gritty, hard-hitting cop drama based on Sidney Kingsley's play. Honed to tense perfection by Wyler, the film is a showcase for fine, colorful ensemble acting by William Bendix (as the no-nonsense lieutenant), Lee Grant (reprising her role as a mousy shoplifter), Bert Freed (as McLeod's sensitive partner), and Joseph Wiseman (as a hilariously "innocent" Italian burglar). But it's Douglas's fierce, tragic performance as a modern lawman who still sees the world in stark black and white terms that provides the gut-twisting dramatic ironies. Absorbing and devastating, this "Story" gets under your skin and stays there.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x985dd6fc) out of 5 stars A gritty prototype. I see bits of Hill Street Blues in it. Jan. 9 2008
By JOHN GODFREY - Published on
Format: DVD
This classic police mellow-drama is a perfect fit for the talents of young Kirk Douglas. He is an inflexible, angry cop. He is righteous with out compassion for any accused showing up at this rundown New York cop shop. They must be all guilty, otherwise they wouldn't be there. He has set himself up as jury & judge. There is one particular case that has haunted him for years. He consistently violates police procedure to say nothing of the law to apprehend those he believes to be guilty. One of his partners is William Bendix a kindly but tough cop. He is seeking mercy for one of Douglas' collars. He is inflexible & will hear none of it. Eleanor Powell plays Douglas' wife. She becomes involved in one of his cases which tests his principals. He does not handle it well. Things end badly very noir-like. See this if you like the police/detective tv shows of today. You'll recognize where some of their style came from.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9878be04) out of 5 stars Great vehicle for Kirk Douglas' acting talents March 14 2007
By calvinnme - Published on
Format: DVD
Kirk Douglas has always excelled in roles where he plays the maverick loner, walking the fine line between anger and insanity. Thus his role as Det. Jim McLeod in "Detective Story" is a real showcase for his acting talents. This is not a crime drama in the conventional sense where there is any real action or crime to solve, even though you have a room full of New York City police detectives on screen for just about the whole movie. Instead it is a character study of Jim McLeod, played by Kirk Douglas. McLeod's motivation in his work is not to solve crimes or even protect the innocent. Instead, he is motivated by a desire to root out evil by his definition of the word. Evil is something McLeod claims that anyone can easily spot. McLeod's world view doesn't differentiate between the one-time bad act of a basically good person, such as Arthur Kindred (Craig Hill), a young man who impulsively stole from his employer in a last ditch attempt to impress a girl he believed he loved, versus the misdeeds of a lifetime criminal, such as the homicidal maniac Charlie (Arthur Kindred), that has also been apprehended by the detective squad that same day.

When confronted by a mistake in the past of the person nearest to him, his own wife, McLeod is equally unforgiving. His rage and disgust is so great, you're not sure what bothers him more - the discovery of his wife's past or the failure of his own nose to sniff out the misdeed prior to this. By the time McLeod realizes his own inflexibility and lack of empathy have cost him what he loves the most, it is too late to undo the damage, and this leads to one last tragedy.

This is Douglas in perhaps his finest if not most huggable role, and is recommended viewing for that reason alone. William Bendix makes up for the lack of likeabilty in Douglas' character as Detective Lou Brady, who likes to temper the letter of the law with a little humanity. Then there's a very young Lee Grant as a shoplifter who just can't stop babbling. Finally, there's Horace McMahon as Lieutenant Monaghan, head of the detective squad and the kind of boss we'd all like to have. There are no extras included on this DVD.