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Scene of the Crime (1949)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 19 December 1949 (UK)
While his wife is urging him to quit the force, a Los Angeles homicide detective hunts for the killer responsible for the murder of his ex-partner, who might have been on the take with local bookies.

Director:

Roy Rowland

Writers:

John Bartlow Martin (story "Smashing the Bookie Gang Marauders"), Charles Schnee (screenplay)
Reviews
1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Van Johnson ... Mike Conovan
Arlene Dahl ... Gloria Conovan
Gloria DeHaven ... Lili (as Gloria De Haven)
Tom Drake ... C.C.
Leon Ames ... Captain A.C. Forster
John McIntire ... Fred Piper
Donald Woods ... Herkimer
Norman Lloyd ... Sleeper
Jerome Cowan ... Webson
Tom Powers ... Umpire Menafoe
Richard Benedict ... Turk Kingby
Anthony Caruso ... Tony Rutzo
Robert Gist ... Pontiac
Romo Vincent ... Hippo
Tom Helmore ... Norrie Lorfield
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Storyline

Homicide detective Mike Conovan investigates the shooting of fellow detective Monigan, who apparently was moonlighting as a guard for a bookie. He finds that all the bookies in town are being robbed, upsetting the racket bosses who can't get normal police protection. Mike encounters blind alleys and double crosses and is distracted by his wife's growing disenchantment. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Be there when it happens! (Posters).


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 December 1949 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Scene of the Crime See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$761,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The standard .38 Special cartridge has a 158 grain solid lead round nose bullet. Hollow pointed expanding bullets were not in really in use. They are a more modern invention staring in the 1960's. Because they did not expand and were not that powerful, that is why the .357 was invented. The .357 Magnum was a .38 special case extended 1/10 of an inch. See more »

Goofs

After Sleeper surprises Conovan and his wife by hiding in the back seat of the car, there is a fairly tight shot of Sleeper looking down at his fingers and rubbing one fingernail with another as he speaks to them. Then the shot pulls back to show Conovan and his wife more completely in the front seat, and suddenly Sleeper's fingers are folded together as his arms rest on top of the front seat. See more »

Quotes

Sleeper: Naturally, I know you know I know somethin'.
Mike Conovan: I know you know I know you know somethin'.
See more »


Soundtracks

I CALL MYSELF A LADY
(uncredited)
Music by André Previn
Lyrics by William Katz
Sung (with reverse striptease) by Gloria DeHaven
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Routine cop drama...and which came first?
20 September 2006 | by blanche-2See all my reviews

Did, as some people think, "Scene of the Crime" invent the cop drama clichés that have been a mainstay of television and film for so long? Or were they already established and just copied by this film? Not being an expert in the genre, I don't know. I do know that despite attempts by some people to elevate this movie to film noir status, it's not that great. Dore Schary put this into production when he took over MGM. I guess he wanted MGM to be more like Warner Brothers. It stars Van Johnson, Arlene Dahl, John McIntyre, Leon Ames, and Gloria DeHaven.

When a cop is killed with a roll of dough found on him, his fellow officers set out to investigate the crime and clear the man's name.

"Scene of the Crime" is similar in its way to "Dragnet" - it shows the daily grind of detectives as they put together a case. There are a couple of very good scenes, including one in which Mike (Van Johnson) arrests a suspect, and shooting starts when they get outside of the apartment building. Still handcuffed to Mike, the perp jumps into a building stairwell. There's also a good car chase.

For some reason, Van Johnson did these baby-faced tough guys well - perhaps it was his New York accent, but he pulls off the role of the dedicated Mike. He was set to be Elliot Ness in the TV "Untouchables" when his wife Evie called Desi Arnaz the night before and held him up for more money. Arnaz called Robert Stack and told him to report to the set the next day. A friend of mine who has lived in LA for over 50 years and socialized with many stars said that Arlene Dahl was the most beautiful woman of everyone he had met. Seeing her in this, you can believe it. She is a spectacular beauty if her acting in some spots isn't the best. Gloria De Haven, usually a vibrant ingenue, plays against type as a tramp, which makes it interesting.

"Scene of the Crime" is gritty-looking enough but suffers from being slow in spots and loaded with clichés. There isn't anything to make it truly special. That could be because by now, we've seen it all before. Perhaps in 1949, it was fresh. But I have my doubts that even back then, it broke any new ground.


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