I know you know I know you know something!
Scene of the Crime is directed by Roy Rowland and adapted to screenplay by Charles Schnee from the story " Smashing the Bookie Gang Members" written by John Bartlow Martin. It stars Van Johnson, Arlene Dahl, Gloria DeHaven, Tom Drake, John McIntire and Leon Ames. Music is by André Previn and cinematography by Paul Vogel.
When a fellow detective is gunned down in suspicious circumstances, Mike Conovan (Johnson) decided to dig a little deeper...
Only fools bet horses - fools keep me prosperous.
A rough and tough noir piece this one. It finds MGM jumping onto the noir bandwagon and putting golden boy Van Johnson forward as a hardboiled hero, and it works. In essence it's about a cop who is disillusioned with his job and faces static at home from his lovingly concerned wife (Dahl). Circumstance drags him into the fray, thus risking everything in life he holds dear, but hell bent on cracking the case and bringing to justice crooks and killers, he ploughs right on in to the frying pan.
Yuk Yuk Yuk.
Pic is in keeping with the Dragnet type of cop films that were so productive in the era. So we get plenty of dry conversations and verbal jousting, splendidly scripted by Schneee who gives thought to the various characterisations. Violence is never far away to add an edge to the standard plotting, while it's sexy and romantic in equal measure - poor Johnson has an adoring Dahl waiting at home for him, while sultry stripper Lili (DeHaven) is all over him when he goes incognito on the case.
Characters all have solitary nicknames, such as Piper (McIntire ace with a tongue as sharp as a knife), Sleeper, CC, Turk and Hippo. There's Bogart references to keep you tuned into the world the pic is operating out of, and the black and white photography, though short on thematic chiaroscuro, keeps the hardboiled atmosphere on the high heat. Cast are uniformly on song, delivering the spiky dialogue with a rich dryness beloved by fans of such fare, and the mystery element has a strong enough current to pull you in for the finale. Good stuff for the discerning fans. 8/10