This is maybe the best episode of Johnny Staccato, the Jazz Detective. A tremendously dark story line about recovering a package before the criminals execute innocent people. It's all filmed in almost total darkness, and the action moves forward relentlessly. Johnny is caught up, innocently of course, in a counterfeit scheme and the thugs are after him. Every shot of this movie is milked for the most expressive content possible, with close-ups, shadows, clever compositions, and fast editing in a snappy, jargon-laden script. Jazz becomes both the rhythm of the tension and the refuge for the hunted. The series up to now was becoming a bit of a snoozer, but this one had me on the edge of my seat. Very advanced cinematography for its time on TV. Cassavetes himself directed it (which is far from a coincidence). I wonder if this show was too much for TV audiences of the day; such intensity could explain the show's cancellation after just one season. Compared with its forebear, Peter Gunn, which this show imitates, this episode transcends its model to an unprecedented degree.
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