6.6/10
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24 user 7 critic

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)
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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:

A Cena do 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 revolver was sold for $80 in 1949 in the movie. That is about $822 today. In 1968 a Colt .45 Automatic was listed at $98, today's colt is about $1000. The revolver at $80 in the movie was 10 times the cost so of course the kid sold the gun-he made a huge profit for a used gun. Strangely, the man could have gone into any pawn shop or gun store and walked out with the gun so why pay such an extreme price for a used gun. 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

Mike Conovan: [to Lili, who had used her charm and good looks to dupe him] You know, when a girl has the looks that you have, it's hard to really see her. But that's no excuse for the mistake I made about ya'. No excuse... just an explanation.
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

 
Above average police-procedural noir shows MGM's skittish touch
29 December 2002 | by bmacvSee all my reviews

An off-duty Los Angeles police detective is shot and killed one night with an unexplained thousand dollars found in his pocket. It falls to his former partner (Van Johnson) to track down his killers and try to exonerate him. Scene of the Crime, which tells the story, stays a police procedural with a few twists and touches that raise it a notch or two above the routine.

First of all, Johnson's wife (Arlene Dahl) has fallen prey to the dissatisfactions common to her lot. She's tired of their evenings, in and out, being ruined by yet another summons to duty (`Whenever the telephone rings, it cuts me,' she cries); she tired of rolling his dice rigged to come up seven, a ritual that supposedly bids him luck.

On the job, he has his burdens, too. His new partner (John McIntyre) is getting on in years and his sight is failing. And under Johnson's wing is nestled rookie cop Tom Drake, learning the ropes. Outside the office there's an abrasive police reporter (Donald Woods) chasing the corruption angle; there's also the network of low-lifes who serve, if the pressure is right, as stoolies - most vivid of them is the young Norman Lloyd.

Word filters up that the killing was the work of a couple of downstate `lobos' who have been knocking over bookie operations. Going undercover, Johnson starts romancing a stripper one of them used to date (Gloria De Haven, in the movie's sharpest performance). Even though he's working her, he finds his emotions in play - and even though it turns out that she's working him, too, she has no emotions.

Under Roy Rowland's direction, Scene of the Crime keeps its plotting straightforward, though with some uncharacteristic bursts of violence. The movie's studio, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, was celebrated for its lavish color musicals, not for the unsentimental style of film noir. That probably accounts for the final shot's being a reconciliatory kiss, in hopes that such a sweet image might expunge all the urban squalor that went before it. Luckily, it doesn't.


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