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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Mystery Street (1950)

When the body of a bar girl (Jan Sterling) is discovered on a Cape Cod beach, a detective (Ricardo Montalban) joins forces with a Harvard medical examiner (Bruce Bennett) who uses the relatively new concept of forensics to piece together how she was killed and who did it. With the proliferation of those CSI shows all over TV, the subject of forensics and how vital it is in solving crimes is old hat. But in 1950, it provided a fresh and different approach to the crime thriller. An early effort by the director John Sturges (THE GREAT ESCAPE) with a screenplay co-authored by Richard Brooks (ELMER GANTRY), this is an unassuming little "B" which manages to deliver some modest excitement and an intelligent script that provides a satisfying slice of noir. Shot on actual Boston locations rather than the MGM backlot, the film is closer to the docu-noirs like NAKED CITY or CALL NORTHSIDE 777 than the traditional studio noirs like THE BIG SLEEP. The fine cast includes Sally Forrest, Elsa Lanchester, Betsy Blair, Marshall Thompson and Edmon Ryan.

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