Detective Story

  • 12
  • William Wyler (1951)
  • US
  • 98 min
Detective Story
Film Review
Reviewed By
4 out of 5

Sidney Kingsley's smash-hit play about the ugliness of life as seen from the squad room of a drab police station loses none of its claustrophobic intensity on screen under William Wyler's resourceful direction in this crime drama. Kirk Douglas is memorable as the cop who despises weakness and wrongdoing, only to find that his intolerance comes back to haunt him. Lee Grant and Joseph Wiseman were imported from the Broadway production for their showy parts of simple-minded shoplifter and dope-addicted three-time loser. But many others are equally good, including William Bendix (fellow cop), Eleanor Parker (Douglas's wife) and George Macready (despicable abortionist). Only the wet young lovers (Cathy O'Donnell and Craig Hill) are a pain, but at least the Hollywood censors permitted abortion to be retained as an issue.

Plot Summary

Crime drama starring Kirk Douglas and Eleanor Parker. On the track of an illegal abortionist, Detective James McLeod oversteps the mark and nearly kills the man. When McLeod's wife is revealed to be involved, events spiral towards a violent conclusion.

Cast and crew


Det James McLeod
Kirk Douglas
Mary McLeod
Eleanor Parker
Det Lou Brody
William Bendix
Lee Grant
Det Dakis
Bert Freed
Det Gallagher
Frank Faylen
Lt Monaghan
Horace McMahon
Arthur Kindred
Craig Hill
Karl Schneider
George Macready
Charley Gennini
Joseph Wiseman
Susan Carmichael
Cathy O'Donnell


William Wyler

Other Information

Black and White
Theatrical distributor: 
Paramount Film Service Ltd
Available on DVD
Certificate 12
Paramount Home Entertainment (UK)