Dragnet (Webb, 1954)

A sturdy and completely uncreative expansion of the famous television show of the same name. We get the patented voice-over’s, the potent Cop POV, and the almost complete absence of criminal psychology. There’s an abundance of crafty dialogue by Jack Webb’s Sgt. Joe Friday, but it seams he gave it all to himself. Apparently they increased the brutal violence for the feature release in order to draw devoted television viewers to the cinema. People wondering why they should pay money for something they could see at home must have been taken aback by the film’s opening murder. Oh, how times have changed. Historically, Dragnet is important for one particular reason in that it was the first television show adapted into a feature film. We can thank it’s success for the never ending lineage of terrible TV shows adapted into movies: Charlie’s Angels, Starsky and Hutch, Bewitched etc. etc. It hurts to even mention these atrocities. It wasn’t until this year when Michael Mann finally made a worthy transition from the small screen to the large with Miami Vice.


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