Detective Story

Detective Story

Detective Story is a 1951 American crime drama directed by William Wyler and starring Kirk Douglas that tells the story of one day in the lives of the various people who populate a police detective squad. The ensemble supporting cast features Eleanor Parker, William Bendix, Cathy O'Donnell, and George Macready. Both Lee Grant and Joseph Wiseman play large roles in their film debuts. The film was adapted by Robert Wyler and Philip Yordan from the 1949 play of the same name by Sidney Kingsley. It was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Academy Award for Best Director for Wyler, Best Actress for Parker, and Best Supporting Actress for Grant.


The movie's events occur over a single night in the detective bullpen of a police station. Detective Jim McLeod (Kirk Douglas), whose violent criminal father drove his mother to insanity, nurtures a lifelong hatred of lawbreakers and is convinced that he has a flawless instinct for identifying criminals. He maintains a particular contempt for Dr. Karl Schneider (George Macready), who McLeod is convinced has performed illegal abortions that have resulted in patient deaths. McLeod has persuaded Schneider’s assistant (Gladys George) to implicate him in a police line-up. However, Schneider bribes her not to pick him out, infuriating McLeod.