Kirk Douglas stars as Jim McLeod, an uncompromising police detective intent on waging a one-man war against crime. ("We're your army," he tells a victim. "We're here to protect you.") His personal vendetta focuses on Karl Schneider, a former physician accused of operating a "baby farm." When McLeod loses his two witnesses against Schneider--one is paid off and one dies--his anger turns to violence. He beats Schneider severely, turning the would-be criminal into a victim of police brutality. Yet, McLeod can cope with a potential assault charge hanging over his head. He is totally unprepared, however, when his actions set into motion a revelation that destroys the one thing that brings stability to his existence.
|Parker and Douglas.|
|Douglas with William Bendix.|
|Joseph Wiseman (the future Dr.|
No) with Kirk.
With its themes of forgiveness and self-righteousness in judging others, Detective Story fits nicely among Wyler's works. What makes it one of his best movies is Wyler's ability to provide a sympathetic portrait of a a violent man hanging by a thread that he cuts himself.
This review of part of the William Wyler Blogathon hosted by The Movie Projector. To read reviews of other William Wyler films, click here.