1956's C.I.D. has a solid film-noir feel, if lacking in the sort of existential moral despair I associate with the genre. And I'm impressed with any straight-faced crime drama that can get Johnny Walker to witness a murder committed by Mehmood.
Not only that, but I have never found Dev Anand more likeable than I did as earnest young police inspector Shekhar, a role perfectly tailored to his particular charms. Even his hair, while still sporting a poof, isn't yet a parody of itself; in fact, Mehmood's pompadour draws way more attention to itself.
An upright newspaper editor, on the verge of a big expose, is murdered by thug-for-hire Mehmood. Inspector Shekhar easily captures him at an opium den, but the sinister bigwig behind it all has him murdered in his jail cell, framing Shekhar in a birds/stone maneuver. Clearly about to be found guilty of the crime, Shekhar jumps bail and goes on the run (complete with a classic newspaper headline/police siren montage), with the goal of tracking down the real killer.
-- A group of girls at a birthday party play musical chairs around the harmonium!
-- The complex script was written by the father of my man Tinnu Anand. The crazy talent obviously runs in the family. (But I can't find any evidence that they were related to Dev and Vijay).
-- Four little words: "And introducing Waheeda Rehman." She could hardly be more ridiculously glamorous, especially when she's coolly holding a gun on hapless Dev, or slipping on the ghunghroos to distract a bad guy. Poor starring Shakila is stuck in the comparatively thankless role of good-girl love interest, and while she's fine, she just can't compete with that wardrobe and that sheer -- Waheedaness.