Dragnet

Overview

At the height of the popularity of his Dragnet TV series, producer/director/star Jack Webb struck a deal with Warner Bros. to direct several feature films--the first of which, but of course, was 1954's Dragnet. This time around, the "true story" in which "only the names are changed to protect the innocent" involves the murder of former syndicate member Dub Taylor. LAPD sergeants Joe Friday Webb and Frank Smith Ben Alexander follow the trail of evidence to shifty gangster boss Stacy Harris, who during most of the ...
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Overview

At the height of the popularity of his Dragnet TV series, producer/director/star Jack Webb struck a deal with Warner Bros. to direct several feature films--the first of which, but of course, was 1954's Dragnet. This time around, the "true story" in which "only the names are changed to protect the innocent" involves the murder of former syndicate member Dub Taylor. LAPD sergeants Joe Friday Webb and Frank Smith Ben Alexander follow the trail of evidence to shifty gangster boss Stacy Harris, who during most of the film is able to avoid arrest through legal loopholes. Richard Boone plays Captain Hamilton, while Ann Robinson, best known for her screaming and scurrying about in War of the Worlds, plays policewoman Grace Downey. Most of the rest of the cast is drawn from Webb's TV and radio stock company, including Virginia Gregg, who is quite good as the amputee wife of the victim, and Vic Perrin, who would later portray the voyeuristic serial killer in the 1967 TV movie version of Dragnet. Some sources list Cliff Arquette as being in the cast of Dragnet, playing his familiar Charley Weaver character, but we can't find him. Dragnet has often been derided because of Joe Friday's reluctance to honor the civil liberties of his suspects, but remember that this was 1954, long before the "You have a right to remain silent" era. Webb's terse, tightly edited, close-up-dominated TV technique translates surprisingly well to the big screen. At its worst, Dragnet falls victim to the corny overkill of the TV version: the subtle-as-an-earthquake musical cues, Friday and Smith's ubiquitous nods and exchanged glances, etc. Still, Dragnet was a satisfying and profitable feature film directorial debut for Jack Webb, whose subsequent efforts included Pete Kelly's Blues 1955, The DI 1957, 30 1959 and The Last Time I Saw Archie 1961.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/27/2013
  • UPC: 025192052019
  • Original Release: 1954
  • Source: Universal Mod
  • Time: 1:28:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 2,650

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Jack Webb Sgt. Joe Friday
Ben Alexander Officer Frank Smith
Richard Boone Capt. Hamilton
Ann Robinson Grace Downey
Stacy Harris Max Troy
Virginia Gregg Ethel Marie Starkie
Victor Perrin Adolph Alexander
Georgia Ellis Belle Davitt
James Griffith Jesse Quinn
Dick Cathcart Roy Cleaver
Malcolm Atterbury Lee Reinhard
Willard Sage Chester Davitt
Olan Soule Ray Pinker
Dennis Weaver Captain Lohrman
James Anderson Fred Kemp
Herb Vigran Mr. Archer
Virginia Christine Mrs. Caldwell
Guy Hamilton Walker Scott
Harry Bartell Lt. Stevens
Herb Ellis Booking Sergeant
Harlan Warde Interne
Cliff Arquette Charlie Weaver
Fred Dale Officer Tilden
Jean Dean Pat, the secretary
Dub Taylor Miller Starkie
Ross Elliott Intelligence Officer
Arthur Gilmore Doctor
Mauritz Hugo Jailer
Gayle Kellogg Officer Keeler
Harry Lauter Officer Greeley
Harry Morgan
Henry Morgan
Meg Myles Cuban Singer
Dick Paxton Hotel Clerk
George Sawava McQueen
Roy Whaley Sergeant McCreadie
Technical Credits
Jack Webb Director
Richard L. Breen Screenwriter
Edward Colman Cinematographer
Field M. Gray Art Director
Robert M. Leeds Editor
Stanley Meyer Producer
Walter Schumann Score Composer
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