- A mysterious and difficult case falls before the Cape Cod police department - a skeleton is found in the sun-drenched sands of its beach! Local police Lieutenant Peter Morales calls on Dr. McAdoo of Harvard University to help him discover through forensic means who the person who once possessed the skeleton was and how he or she was killed, then relying on his own detective skills to figure everything out. Mystery Street (1950) is a very enjoyable film noir - well written, acted, and put together.
The entire cast does a good job, with Bruce Bennett as the knowledgeable Dr. McAdoo and Elsa Lanchester as the odd old lady Mrs. Smerrling standing out among the supporting cast. Of course, the film's star, Ricardo Montalban, is great as Lieutenant Peter Morales - an interesting and cool character dedicated to his job and he is a little ruthless as well, but not so much that he becomes detached to the human element of the case.
Nominated for an Oscar for its script, Mystery Street is a sort of 1950s CSI, with its characters trying to solve much of the case through technological and scientific means as well as your more recognizable detecting methods. The story is definitely well written with a simple plot but intelligent intricacies and cleverly conceived screen conversations. A combination of director John Sturges and cinematographer John Alton also gives this film a great mood-setting look with great framing and shadowing, adding style to its substance. Mystery Street is a very good film noir - entertaining and intelligent.
CBC Rating: 8/10