Detective Story

Kirk Douglas and Eleanor Parker in Detective Story (dir. William Wyler, 1951).

The main narrative, centered on the rage-filled detective who gradually finds out disturbing things about his wife's past, tries a little too hard, in that way of the midcentury melodramatic stage, whence this film is adapted. Despite the setting, it never feels like noir, partly because it's so conciously "tragic." Noir is never tragic in that Aristotelian/Shakespearean way. It's just a bitch, like life.

But it's a pleasure to watch the cast, especially those thick, reliable fellows William Bendix and Bert Freed. Lee Grant is also fun to watch in her first screen appearance, reprising her role in the Broadway stage production as a shoplifter on the make for a husband.

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