Ryan is a married man, the descendent of a fine old Boston family. Sterling is a floozy he's having an affair with. Discovering she is pregnant, Sterling arranges to meet her lover on a remote beachfront but encounters Thompson, a sympathetic stranger. She tells him her story and he
offers to drive her to meet Ryan. But she tricks him and takes his car. At her rendezvous with Ryan, she reveals the pregnancy. Horrified at the consequences, Ryan shoots her and removes the clothing from the corpse. After dumping the naked body into the ocean, he drives the car to a nearby bog
and sinks it. Thompson meanwhile has reported his car stolen. Soon the remains of the body wash up on shore. Montalban, head of the investigative team, along with Harvard medical expert Bennett, determine the victim's identity and how she was killed. After the car is found Thompson is arrested for
murder. But Montalban is not convinced of the man's guilt and probes further. Lanchester, the dead girl's landlady, has meanwhile discovered Ryan's phone number in Sterling's room. She blackmails the man and manages to steal the murder weapon. Ryan goes to the roominghouse to confront Lanchester
but is met by Montalban and Thompson's wife, Forrest. He escapes, but Montalban gets hold of a key to the bus station locker where Lanchester has hidden the gun. The next morning he catches the real killer in the bus station.
Though MGM was not well known for film noir, under the direction of Dore Schary a number of these well-made, moody crime films were produced between 1948 and 1956. Though a standard police drama, MYSTERY STREET (which was nominated for a Best Motion Picture Story Oscar) is a taut, well-paced
thriller. Filmed in a semidocumentary style with an atmospheric and moody photography job, the location shooting at Harvard and the Boston area is well employed. Montalban is fine in the lead role, playing well against Ryan. The ethnic detective versus the upper-crust murderer not only makes for
good mystery but also provides interesting social commentary. Though Ryan represents a class where everything fits into its neat little place, he finds himself fighting for his his life against a man of more common means. One of a series of films in the 1950s which concentrate on the science of
forensics in police work. Here, the Harvard Department of Legal Medicine reconstructed the murder of Sterling for Montalban and then found the guilty man out of 86 suspects by the scientific treatment of Sterling's skeleton.
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- Review: Ryan is a married man, the descendent of a fine old Boston family. Sterling is a floozy he's having an affair with. Discovering she is pregnant, Sterling arranges to meet her lover on a remote beachfront but encounters Thompson, a sympathetic stranger. She… (more)