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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Herbert Ellis, who appears uncredited as The Booking Sergeant, was one of several actors who played Officer Frank Smith during the first year of the Dragnet (1951) TV series before Ben Alexander got the role full time. See more »
The murder scene is an open lot bounded by Loma Vista, 3rd, Wentworth and Rachel. These are actual streets in the LA area but do not intersect or form a block. See more »
Check out the Chrome on the shiny 1950's automobiles. Look carefully and you will see the clear plastic air-conditioning tubes inside the rear window of the Cadillac. Wood furniture (not fiberboard), non-filter cigarettes by the ton, neon signs, 8-miles per gallon autos. This is authentic 1950's retro (and wastefulness) at its best.
Expensive color film and fine film editing. First-class musical scoring is seamlessly blended into the movie.
"Dragnet" is a meticulously planned movie project. Looks like every scene was thought out well in advance of the actual production. Webb must have been a very hard-working movie craftsman.
Stylistically, Webb's brisk handling of actors and clipped, monotonous dialog is not appealing to my tastes, but directing style is in the eye of the beholder I suppose. His style is OK for television shows but less so in a full-length movie. However, this is a good crime movie and Webb at least gives it a kind of watchable uniqueness.
Modern TV's "Law and Order" breaks no new ground. This "Dragnet" movie has the cops and detectives, then the District Attorney, then some sort of judicial hearing, etc. And of course "Law and Order" doesn't have those big chrome dinosaurs.
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