Citizens of San Francisco are stunned by the news that Robert Ironside, the city's hard-nosed, tough-talking chief of detectives, has been shot and left for dead while vacationing at his ... See full summary »
Centers on Robert T. Ironside, a tough, sexy and acerbic police detective relegated to a wheelchair after a shooting who is hardly limited by his disability as he pushes and prods his hand-picked team to solve the most difficult cases.
Citizens of San Francisco are stunned by the news that Robert Ironside, the city's hard-nosed, tough-talking chief of detectives, has been shot and left for dead while vacationing at his friend the Police Commissioner's rural retreat. Ironside survives the murder attempt, but the bullet has damaged nerves in his spine, leaving him a paraplegic. Unable to gain reinstatement as chief of detectives, Ironside gets permission to continue investigating criminal cases as a citizen volunteer. With the assistance of two former protegees, Det. Sgt. Ed Brown and Officer Eve Whitfield, and a newly-hired aide/driver, Mark Sanger, Ironside sets out to solve his first case as a civilian by finding the people responsible for the attempt on his life. Written by
Standard TV detective stuff that is more about the "tough-nosed detective" than the weak and uninteresting plot
While on his first holiday for about 25 years, tough Detective Ironside is shot and left for dead at a remote farmhouse. He survives but is disabled never able to walk again. The city is shocked and the news media enjoy the opportunity to show how the hardnosed man has been softened. However Bob Ironside is determined not to be trapped in his chair and volunteers to work within the police department, taking his own case on as his very first. With the help of Mark Sanger, Ironside is mobile and out to show the criminal element of San Francisco that not being able to walk has had no impact on his tough approach to life.
On the basis that this pilot spawned a television show that still is famous decades later, I decided to give this film a try (despite not really remembering the TV show itself). What I found was a fairly standard television cop show from the period, complete with tough detective who tells it like it is and wants justice done. None of this surprised me and although the film does have an investigation to follow, the majority of the film is just about showing us this tough character, his methods and the little cracks in his character that will be explored over many series to come (in theory). This in itself wasn't enough for me because I wasn't watching the start of a series, I was watching a film that had to stand on its own. The investigation itself involves picking through old enemies of Ironside while building this very basic character a character clearly designed to appeal to those who did not appreciate the relaxed morals and apologistic nature of sixties youth. Suffice to say I didn't think it worked as a detective mystery and generally it wasn't delivered that well not helped by the TV direction and the bewildering use of large numbers of fast edits in scenes that just didn't need it.
The cast are pretty standard. To me Burr is only Perry Mason simply because it was his Mason films that I grew up with. As Ironside he is a simple tough character who is as much a caricature as a person the only thing it did do was make me wonder how Ironside would view Burr's personal life! The support cast are just filler with nobody really doing anything of note. Mitchell works reasonably alongside Burr but his character isn't convincing; meanwhile the only other person that stuck in my mind was someone listed in the final credits called "Eddie Firestone" who played a character called "Wheels" not that funny but it amused me enough to remember at least.
Overall a fairly standard television cop show that has much about it that has dated. The plot is average at best and didn't really engage me while the main character was a simply thing that seemed designed to appeal to the "stay at home and watch telly" demographic that didn't approve of the relaxed morals of the sixties. Worth a look if you liked the TV series I suppose but probably not good enough for the casual viewer to bother with.
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