Scene of the Crime (1949)

93-95 mins | Film noir | 26 August 1949

Director:

Roy Rowland

Producer:

Harry Rapf

Cinematographer:

Paul C. Vogel

Editor:

Robert J. Kern

Production Designers:

Cedric Gibbons, Leonid Vasian

Production Company:

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.
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HISTORY

This film marked producer Harry Rapf's final film. Rapf, whose film career spanned four decades, and who joined M-G-M in 1924, died of heart failure on 7 Feb 1949, one week after shooting began on Scene of the Crime . A late Jan 1949 HR news item noted that Donna Reed was originally set for the part played by Arlene Dahl. According to a Mar 1949 HR news item, the film was completed on schedule and "well within" its $750,000 dollar ... More Less

This film marked producer Harry Rapf's final film. Rapf, whose film career spanned four decades, and who joined M-G-M in 1924, died of heart failure on 7 Feb 1949, one week after shooting began on Scene of the Crime . A late Jan 1949 HR news item noted that Donna Reed was originally set for the part played by Arlene Dahl. According to a Mar 1949 HR news item, the film was completed on schedule and "well within" its $750,000 dollar budget. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Box Office
25 Jun 1949.
---
Film Daily
30 Jun 49
p. 7.
Hollywood Reporter
27 Jan 49
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
28 Jan 49
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Feb 49
p. 10.
Hollywood Reporter
7 Feb 49
pp. 1-2.
Hollywood Reporter
4 Mar 49
p. 12.
Hollywood Reporter
30 Mar 49
p. 13.
Hollywood Reporter
22 Jun 49
p. 3, 7
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest
25 Jun 49
pp. 4657-58.
New York Times
29 Jul 49
p. 12.
Variety
22 Jun 49
p. 6.
CAST
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
Gloria De Haven
William J. Tannen
William McCormick
Michael Barrett
Sam Finn
+
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
PRODUCER
Prod
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam op
Stills
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Art dir
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Set dec
COSTUMES
Women's cost
MUSIC
Mus score
SOUND
Rec supv
VISUAL EFFECTS
MAKEUP
Hair styles
Makeup created by
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
Scr supv
STAND INS
Voice of girl
Voice of girl
SOURCES
SONGS
"I Call Myself a Lady," music and lyrics by André Previn and William Katz.
DETAILS
Release Date:
26 August 1949
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 28 July 1949
Production Date:
1 February--early March 1949
Copyright Claimant:
Loew's Inc.
Copyright Date:
24 June 1949
Copyright Number:
LP2460
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric Sound System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
93-95
Country:
United States
PCA No:
13792
Passed by NBR:
Yes
SYNOPSIS

Late one night, on a Los Angeles city street, a plainclothes policeman is murdered in front of a young couple. When it is learned that the murdered man, Ed Monigan, was robbed of $1,000, police captain Forster suspects that Monigan was on the take and involved in an illicit gambling ring that is operating out of a nearby cigar store, and that his murder is somehow connected to a new betting operation that is trying to take over all the bookies in the city. When police detective Mike Conovan is summoned to the crime scene, he disputes the captain's theory, and is certain that Monigan was not involved in any illegal activities. The captain assigns Mike to the case, along with veteran detective Fred Piper and a young rookie nicknamed C. C. The three detectives begin their investigation, with their only clues coming from the eyewitnesses, who described the killer as being left-handed and having a mottled face. In the hope of learning more about the killer, Mike questions a police informant named Sleeper about Arthur Webson, a known gambling ring operator, and any new associates Webson may have acquired. Though the interrogation provides no new leads, C. C. finds a matchbook in Sleeper's possession, in which the names Turk Kingby and Lafe Douque are inscribed. After adding Kingby and Douque to the list of possible suspects or accomplices, Mike pays a friendly visit to Monigan's son Ed. Ed angrily blames Mike for his father's death, claiming that he would not have placed himself in such a dangerous position had he not been trying to prove himself to Mike. Ed then asks Mike to devote himself to ... +


Late one night, on a Los Angeles city street, a plainclothes policeman is murdered in front of a young couple. When it is learned that the murdered man, Ed Monigan, was robbed of $1,000, police captain Forster suspects that Monigan was on the take and involved in an illicit gambling ring that is operating out of a nearby cigar store, and that his murder is somehow connected to a new betting operation that is trying to take over all the bookies in the city. When police detective Mike Conovan is summoned to the crime scene, he disputes the captain's theory, and is certain that Monigan was not involved in any illegal activities. The captain assigns Mike to the case, along with veteran detective Fred Piper and a young rookie nicknamed C. C. The three detectives begin their investigation, with their only clues coming from the eyewitnesses, who described the killer as being left-handed and having a mottled face. In the hope of learning more about the killer, Mike questions a police informant named Sleeper about Arthur Webson, a known gambling ring operator, and any new associates Webson may have acquired. Though the interrogation provides no new leads, C. C. finds a matchbook in Sleeper's possession, in which the names Turk Kingby and Lafe Douque are inscribed. After adding Kingby and Douque to the list of possible suspects or accomplices, Mike pays a friendly visit to Monigan's son Ed. Ed angrily blames Mike for his father's death, claiming that he would not have placed himself in such a dangerous position had he not been trying to prove himself to Mike. Ed then asks Mike to devote himself to clearing his father's good name. While searching for Kingby, Mike and C. C. witness two men forcing a man into a car. They follow the car to a warehouse, which is guarded by Umpire Menafoe, a former distillery operator and head of the bookie operations in the city. Menafoe, an old friend of Mike, allows Mike to watch a group of bookies line up suspects thought to be involved in a series of holdups. Later, Sleeper tells Mike that Kingby and Douque are part of a gang known as the Royalty Boys, and that they served time in Wallaby Prison. When Mike and Piper visit a private investigator named Pontiac, he tells them that Kingby had been associating with a "sizzler" named Lili, who was a burlesque dancer at the Club Fol-de-Rol. Mike visits Lili at the club and cultivates her trust by taking her to the movies and spending time with her. Later, Mike's wife Gloria makes a failed attempt to convince her husband to quit his dangerous work and take a safer job at a steel plant. After secretly planting a hidden microphone on a gangster named Hippo, Mike and some other detectives listen in on a conversation in which Douque confesses to killing a police officer. Douque, however, is killed shortly thereafter. When Hippo tells Mike that Kingby is planning to make a "big hit" against the bookie organization that killed Douque, Captain Forster sets out to snare the killers. Before the criminals are captured, however, Piper succumbs to a trap set by the killers and dies. Realizing that Lili must have tipped off the hitmen, Mike goes to the nightclub and demands an explanation. Lili confesses that she loves Kingby and that she set up all the murders to protect him. When Kingby is finally captured, Mike discovers that he used a special rubber glove to make himself appear to be left-handed, and that he used shoe polish to mottle his face. With the case solved, Mike is finally able to devote his attentions to Gloria. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.