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A hard-hitting detective drama filmed in nail-biting documentary style, Don Siegel's Madigan comes to DVD from Universal Studios Home Video. Presented in 2.35:1 widescreen and featuring audio rendered in either closed-captioned English Dolby Digital Mono or French Dolby Digital Mono, this disc also offers optional Spanish subtitles. Extra features include bios, a trailer, film highlights, production notes and weblinks.
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A hard-hitting detective drama filmed in nail-biting documentary style, Don Siegel's Madigan comes to DVD from Universal Studios Home Video. Presented in 2.35:1 widescreen and featuring audio rendered in either closed-captioned English Dolby Digital Mono or French Dolby Digital Mono, this disc also offers optional Spanish subtitles. Extra features include bios, a trailer, film highlights, production notes and weblinks.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Bruce Eder
Don Siegel recognized gold when he saw it -- he reportedly had misgivings when producer Frank P. Rosenberg first asked for him as the director of Universal's adaptation of Richard Dougherty's novel The Commissioner because the two had clashed in earlier years on the series Arrest & Trial, but the book and the screenplay, written by Howard Rodman (who ultimately took the pseudonym Henri Simoun) and revised by longtime movie blacklistee Abraham Polonsky, offered too good a chance to make an exciting location-based police thriller. Siegel succeeded and then some, creating a movie that functioned on two levels, with two separate but interlocking story lines: a violent story about police officers on the streets of New York, and the drama of senior police commanders and their own life-and-death decisions. The city of New York, as much as the leading actors, was the "star" of the film. Although part of the movie was done on a Hollywood backlot and soundstage, there was enough New York shooting and enough of the pulse and rhythm of those streets to give the movie extraordinary verisimilitude, so that, at times, it feels as if one is watching a documentary. Cinematographer Russell Metty, whose career went back to the 1930s, used the widescreen Techniscope image to brilliant advantage, capturing the constriction of New York's tenements and the wide expanses of skyline with equal facility. What Siegel and the writers never quite licked was the edict of the studio management that the film focus on Richard Widmark's Detective Madigan rather than on Henry Fonda's Police Commissioner Russell, who was the central character of the book. Siegel put everything he had into Widmark's scenes and embraced a dramatic arc that encompassed Madigan's story, but the unifying element of the movie remained Fonda's character, whose story was as central to the finished film as Widmark's. What's more, Fonda's scenes with Lloyd Gough, Woodrow Parfrey, Susan Clark, and James Whitmore were extremely powerful, a match for Widmark's scenes with Harry Guardino, Michael Dunn, Inger Stevens, and Sheree North. There are also excellent supporting performances by Dunn, Whitmore, Don Stroud, Henry Beckman, Ray Montgomery, and, most surprisingly, Harry Bellaver (best remembered from the TV show Naked City) as an alcoholic tipster. Sharp-eared viewers will be able to pick up little remnants of Polonsky's classic work from the 1940s, especially in the scene in which Whitmore's character is confronted with the transcription of the shakedown. "All the rest is conversation," he remarks, a phrase from Polonsky's script for Robert Rossen's Body and Soul (1947), starring John Garfield. The presence of ex-blacklistee Lloyd Gough (who, in that earlier movie, uttered that line) as Assistant Chief Inspector Earl Griffin, is another "in" reference to Polonsky's past. Not everything about the movie is perfect. In real life, first-grade detective, the rank held by Madigan and Bonaro, is an extremely elite rank within the NYPD, coming with the equivalent of lieutenant's pay and a lot of respect, and is impossible to achieve without the good graces of the commissioner's office, so it is difficult to believe Russell's antipathy toward Madigan. It's also far-fetched that a pair of such men could make such a botch of a routine job or that the chief of detectives (Bert Freed) would be quick to hang them out to dry. But those flaws (and the fact that Madigan and Bonaro are allowed to confront Benesch without wearing bullet-proof vests) aside, Madigan is a brilliant film. In fact, it ended up being two great movies in one, telling two separate, full sets of stories woven around characters who are only seen onscreen together in the final sequence. Interestingly, in addition to spawning a short-lived series with Widmark in the 1970s, the movie served just as much as the dry run for the series Kojak, another Universal production.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 3/16/1999
  • UPC: 025192052521
  • Original Release: 1968
  • Rating:

  • Source: Universal Studios
  • Region Code: 1
  • Aspect Ratio: Cinemascope (2.35:1)
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Language: English, Fran├žais
  • Time: 1:41:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 22,104

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Richard Widmark Detective Daniel Madigan
Henry Fonda Commissioner Anthony X. Russell
Inger Stevens Julia Madigan
Harry Guardino Det. Rocco Bonaro
James Whitmore Chief Inspector Charles Kane
Susan Clark Tricia Bentley
Michael Dunn Midget Castiglione
Steve Ihnat Barney Benesch
Don Stroud Hughie
Sheree North Jonesy
Lloyd Haynes Patrolman Sam Woodley
Bob Biheller
Warren Stevens Capt. Ben Williams
Raymond St. Jacques Dr. Taylor
Bert Freed Chief of Detectives Hap Lynch
Harry Bellaver Mickey Dunn
Frank Martin Lieutenant James Price
Woodrow Parfrey Marvin
Dallas Mitchell Detective Tom Gavin
Richard O'Brien Det. O'Brien
Lloyd Gough Assistant Chief Inspector Earl Griffin
Rita Lynn Rita Bonaro
Gloria Calomee Policewoman Doris Hawkins
Ray Montgomery Detective O'Mara
Robert Ball Prisoner
Albert Henderson Lieutenant Strong
Henry Beckman Patrolman Philip Downes
Abel Fernandez Detective Rodriguez
Virginia Gregg Esther Newman
Paul Sorenson Man
Ollie O'Toole Man
Al Dunlap Man
Pepe Hern Man
Scott Hale Man
Bob O'Connell Man
Conrad Bain Hotel Clerk
Ed Crowley Man at Precinct
Tom Rosqui Man
Diane Sayer Doreen
Philippa Bevans Mrs. Hewitt
Nina Varela Woman
Kate Harrington Woman
Al Ruban Kowalski
Lincoln Kilpatrick Patrolman Grimes
Seth Allen Subway Dispatcher
Ralph Smiley Captain
William Bramley O'Brien
John McLiam Dunne
Technical Credits
Don Siegel Director
Alexander Golitzen Art Director, Production Designer
John P. Austin Art Director, Set Decoration/Design
Joe Cavalier Asst. Director
Don Costa Score Composer
Harry Kleiner Screenwriter
John McCarthy Set Decoration/Design
Russell Metty Cinematographer
Abraham Polonsky Screenwriter
Howard Rodman Screenwriter
Frank P. Rosenberg Producer
Milton Shifman Editor
Waldon O. Watson Sound/Sound Designer
George C. Webb Production Designer, Sound/Sound Designer
Bud Westmore Makeup
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Scene Index

Side #1--
0. Chapter List
1. Main Titles [2:41]
2. Busting Benesch [7:04]
3. The Commissioner [:51]
4. A Lonely Business [10:16]
5. Mr. & Mrs. Madigan [7:06]
6. A Policeman's Justice [5:42]
7. Midget [2:49]
8. Jonesy [:05]
9. Saturday [5:12]
10. McGinty's Bar [3:39]
11. Hassling Hughie [:15]
12. The Captain's Dance [2:54]
13. Benesch in the Bag [4:28]
14. Julia's Choice [1:06]
15. Benesch Besieged [2:37]
16. Madigan Goes In [9:40]
17. Just a Lousy Cop [:01]
18. End Titles [11:28]
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Side #1--
      Menu Group #1 with 19 chapter(s) covering 01:40:39
   Bonus Materials
      Production Notes
      Cast and Filmmakers
         Richard Widmark
         Henry Fonda
         Inger Stevens
         Harry Guardino
         James Whitmore
         Susan Clarke
         Michael Dunn
         Don Stroud
         Don Siegel
      Theatrical Trailer
      Universal Web Links
   Language Selection
      Spoken Languages
      Captions and Subtitles
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010


    Richard Daugherty's 1950's novel, THE COMMISSIONER, was one of the first true to life fictions depicting the troubled lives of city cops. Donald Siegel does the book justice with one of the best films of 1968. Siegel gets solid performances from Richard Widmark, Henry Fonda, Harry Guardino and James Whitmore. The late Steve Ihnat provided the imputus for atleast a dozen new era movie psychos with his few scenes. Outstanding photography and NYC locales. A timeless winner.

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