Detective Story Studio: Paramount Year: 1951 Rated: NR Length: 103 minutes Aspect Ratio: Full Screen 1.33:1 Audio: Dolby Digital English Mono, French Mono Closed Captioned and subtitled in English Special Features: None Suggested Retail Price: $14.99 USD Release Date: October 25, 2005 William Wyler’s claustrophobic screen adaptation of Sydney Kingsley’s Broadway play is an intense psychological study of one of New York’s Finest amid the bedlam of his Manhattan precinct. Virtually the entire film plays out inside the precinct walls, as we watch the unraveling of the hero amidst the everyday backdrop of the police station. Kirk Douglas stars as Detective James McLeod, the hard and rigid workaholic detective who isn’t above roughing up a suspect, yet who has his own moral code of principles under which he works. Eleanor Parker is his wife, Mary, who is tormented by a guilty secret. While the day-to-day business of the precinct swirls around them - a frightened girl (Lee Grant) is booked for shoplifting, a manic burglar (Joseph Wiseman) is interrogated - an old case comes to the fore which pits McLeod against a detestable man, and brings to light Mary’s awful secret. Wyler delivered an engrossing, gut-wrenching drama in this film - with the help of outstanding performances from Douglas, Parker, Grant, and William Bendix - and outstanding black and white photography by Lee Garmes. What could have been standard melodramatic fare, in these hands, is a cinematic work of art. Those who are familiar with the TV series Barney Miller (1975 - 1982) will see the heavy influence this film had on the series - from the look of the precinct to its regular invasion by the city’s strangest of characters. While the film that seems to have inspired Barney Miller has some of the same style comedic moments, Detective Story is firmly rooted in the dramatic genre. The film is somewhat dated, but has a gritty realism that, in the hands of Wyler and Douglas, will grab you and pull you in until the explosive climax. The film was recognized at Oscar time, picking up nominations for Wyler, Parker and Grant, as well as the writing team of Robert Wyler and Philip Yorden for their adapted screenplay. The Transfer Presented in full screen format, this transfer closely replicates the original aspect ratio of 1.37:1. The film elements are in excellent shape, displaying only occasional specks of debris. The image has good sharpness and contrast, showing off Garmes beautiful black and white photography in a very good light. Black levels are strong, and there remains considerable detail in shadow areas. The picture has a good, comfortable midpoint and clean white areas that never clip. This is an outstanding transfer. The Audio is presented in your choice of English or French Mono. The English soundtrack has a fairly good dynamic range and clean dialog. There is a noticeable background hiss throughout - but as far as I can tell, this soundtrack accurately portrays the source elements. Special Features None. Final Thoughts An excellent, gripping drama from one of the finest filmmakers of the 20th Century. This film gets a solid treatment on DVD from Paramount. Recommended.