Detective Story

Detective Story

William Wyler (1951)

X Certificate


Our Score
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. 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.


A moralistic New York cop is determined to ensure the conviction of an illegal abortionist implicated in the deaths of several women. However, his obsession leads him to lose control, and he is disturbed to discover his own wife was once one of the doctor's patients - a secret she had kept from him. Police drama, starring Kirk Douglas, Eleanor Parker and William Bendix.

Cast & Crew

Det James McLeod Kirk Douglas
Mary McLeod Eleanor Parker
Det Lou Brody William Bendix
Shoplifter 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
Director William Wyler
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteTheatrical distributor: Paramount Film Service LtdGuidance: Violence.Available on: DVD