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Saturday, April 9: A known bookie named Miller Starkie has been "cut in half" by a sawed-off, double-barrel shotgun. Working out of Intelligence Division, Sgt. Joe Friday and Off. Frank Smith piece together what little evidence they have, interview acquaintances, intimidate witnesses, interrogate suspects to the point of harassment, utilize a Minifon and a wiretap, and testify before the Grand Jury in a tireless effort to catch and convict Starkie's killers. Written by
Michael J. Hayde <email@example.com>
I used to watch Dragnet 68 as a kid, but I was never a major fan of the show. It was kind of degrading towards every average person. The average working class Joe was usually portrayed as an ignorant slob. All the criminal types were usually sociopathic to some degree. Unlike other TV crime drama shows, Joe Friday was not interested in getting to the deeper root of any problem. He just wanted arrests and convictions.
Joe Friday wanted to help "The People," but he did not seem to like most of them, except for other police officers and possibly the District Attorney's Office. He also never seemed to have any kind of personal or social life. When you think about it, Jack Webb's vision of a police officer as an emotionless Robo-Cop who just goes home every night to a tidy little room, is kind of depressing.
Richard Boone (Palladin), Dennis Weaver (Chester of Gunsmoke), and Jack Webb have one scene together, as they planned how to apprehend the "syndicate" mobsters. I figured that a movie with all three of them in lead roles (Boone and Weaver were Captains) would be pretty good. However, in keeping with the Dragnet style of the film, Boone and Weaver basically have a few one liners, and a couple of brief sentences, and that is all.
Warner Brothers often used their contract actors to put together commercial films, which were basically "Made for TV movies" that used all their TV stars and supporting actors. There are lots of veteran actors and actresses here, and in that sense, Dragnet is a good movie.
Unfortunately, as many others have pointed out, the pace of the film is too slow, and there is no mystery to be solved. All the action happens in the first two minutes, and the next 86 minutes is a slow march of hate, harassment, and hounding; in order to get a warrant issued for the arrest of the cold-blooded "syndicate" mobsters.
After 86 minutes of building up to the final confrontation, you would think that Dragnet ends with a big shoot-out?
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