DVDs: Detective Movies
Despite its title, the intermittently entertaining Detective Story (1951) is a weepy melodrama about a New York City police detective battling personal demons and struggling with his shaky marriage. Taken from a stage play, it is set almost exclusively in a single room at a police station, which only emphasizes its inherent claustrophobia and the hopeless overacting of Kirk Douglas in the title role.
Hammett's soft, grainy picture and flat surround soundtrack are a huge disappointment. Detective Story fares better with its detailed, high-contrast black-and-white images and crisp mono sound. Hammett: [PG] English, Dolby Surround; letterboxed (1.78:1) and anamorphic widescreen; dual layer. Detective Story: [NR] English and French, Dolby Digital 2-channel mono; full frame (1.33:1); single layer.