Sunday, March 6, 2016

Mystery Street (1950)

Starring Ricardo Montalban, Sally Forrest, Bruce Bennett, Elsa Lanchester, Marshall Thompson
Directed by John Sturges
(actor & director credits courtesy

A Cape Cod detective turns to a Harvard professor for help in determining how a skeleton discovered on the beach got there.

Almost a mystery in reverse, the film begins by showing us the identity of the murder victim and where and how she meets her fate, and then introduces us to Lieutenant Morales, who must deduce what we've just seen with only her skeleton as evidence.  Although Montalban was one of MGM's stars by this time, it's refreshing to see him headline the picture with nary a reference to his ethnicity, and he does a nice job in his role, convincingly portraying a dedicated cop on his first murder case.  The picture is also stylistically interesting, commencing with scenes drenched in shadow, a nice device symbolizing how much Morales has to uncover.

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