Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Dragnet 1967

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
6 out of 10
Extras Rating:
7 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: Not Rated

Starring:
Jack Webb as Sgt. Joe Friday
Harry Morgan as Officer Bill Gannon
Don Ross as Don Hale / Carl Freeman
Clark Howat as Captain Al Trembly / Captain Mack
Art Balinger as Captain Brown / Captain Hugh Brown
Alfred Shelly as Sergeant Al Vietti / Sergeant Dominic Carr
Art Gilmore as Captain Mert Howe / Captain Lambert

Special Features:
"The Big Cut" Bonus Radio Episode CD

Other Info:
Full Frame (1.33:1)
Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
French and Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 7 Hours 12 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is the official synopsis of the film:

"Get ready for all the real-life crime stories of the most influential police drama in the history of television: Dragnet 1967. Producer, creator and director Jack Webb stars as tough-as-nails Sergeant Joe Friday who, along with his partner, Officer Bill Gannon (Harry Morgan, M*A*S*H*), are on the beat tracking down clues, criminals and corporate corruption. Now all 17 episodes, plus a bonus CD featuring a recording from an original Dragnet radio show, are available in one DVD boxed set for the first time ever. Dragnet 1967: Season 1 is the Dragnet collection that crime fans have been waiting for!"

Dragnet 1967 is not rated.

The Series:
I had no idea that Dragnet had so many different incarnations. There was the original show that ran from 1951 to 1959, the 1989 revival, the 2003 revival, and the 1987 movie with Dan Akroyd and Tom Hanks. But there was also this 1960's revival with the series creator/director/writer/producer/actor Jack Webb. It started with Dragnet 1967 and each subsequent season was named after the year it aired (1967-1970).

The thing I like most about Dragnet is that each episode was based on a true story. It not only made it unique and creative, but it made it a little more suspenseful knowing that it all really happened. Police were asked to send in their true stories and the shows were based on them with the "names changed to protect the innocent". These dramatizations were the next best thing to COPS where camera crews actually followed police on the job. It's easy to see why Dragnet was so popular. They had no shortage of intriguing stories.

Looking at Dragnet 1967, the episodes themselves are very dated. From the dress to the language to the environment, everything screams the 60's. Fortunately the stories are intriguing enough to make that irrelevant. The acting also is a bit wooden. Jack Webb as Sgt. Joe Friday is about as stiff as you could possibly be while acting. Dan Akroyd beautifully parodied this in the 1987 film. But somehow it becomes endearing as Friday doggedly pursues the bad guys and gives them well deserved tongue lashings along the way. (I loved one line in an episode where he lectures a Neo Nazi: "You keep talking about minorities. Well you're a psycho, and they're a minority.") It's also fun to see Harry Morgan come on board as Officer Bill Gannon (a role he also reprised in the 1987 film). Morgan is a lot less animated when compared to his later role in M*A*S*H*, but it's entertaining to see his capabilities as an actor.

The Extras:
The only bonus feature on this DVD is a CD which includes a Dragnet radio drama. Like the rest of the shows, it is based on a real life LAPD case file. It aired on September 14, 1954. While I would have liked a bonus feature on the actors or the making of the show, this is an interesting alternative.

The Bottom Line:
If you like real life cop dramas or if you enjoy vintage television, then you'll definitely want to check out Dragnet 1967.

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