We review two Kirk Douglas movies -- EW grades the newly restored ''The Strange Love of Martha Ivers'' and ''Detective Story''
We review two Kirk Douglas movies
Strange is the operative word for The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, a noir melodrama marking Kirk Douglas’ film debut. As Walter, the weak, alcoholic husband of Barbara Stanwyck’s steely Martha, he shows more nuance than in his later, square-jawed heroes. Haunted by past crimes, Martha and Walter squirm when Sam (Van Heflin), her childhood idol who may know about their misdeeds, turns up. The film is heavy on dialogue but often snappy: ”I bet I smell as nice as you and Walter put together,” a suspicious Sam tells Martha. Detective Story, based on Sidney Kingsley’s Broadway hit, follows a day in a police precinct with some dated plot elements (obsession with virginity) and others surprisingly fresh. Douglas’ Jim McLeod is a tough cop harassing an abortionist, but he goes to pieces when he learns that his adoring wife (Eleanor Parker) was once the man’s client. Douglas plays McLeod with a wound-up earnestness that leaves little room for subtlety. A shame there are no EXTRAS on either film: Douglas’ take on his early work would have been invaluable.
Ivers B-, Detective B+