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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Surround
  • German: Dolby Digital Surround
  • Czech: Dolby Digital Surround
  • Polish: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Hungarian: Dolby Digital Mono
  Subtitles
    Dutch, English - Hearing Impaired, Swedish
  Extras
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • Production notes

Dragnet

Universal/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 101 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Created by, and starring Jack Webb, Dragnet was a police drama to set the mold for the police dramas of the future. With the co-operation of the LAPD, Webb was able to take actual police investigations and procedure and create a very true to life police radio drama, and then successfully bring it to television.

Using realistic police procedure and focusing on both the professional and personal lives of the characters, the show quickly gained in popularity, it's initial run last almost eight years (January 1952 - August 1959), and then make a successfull come another eight years later (1967-1970). In the years since, the catchy Dragnet March used for the opening theme, the shows many catch-phrases ("Just the facts ma'am.", "This is the city. Los Angeles, California.") and the straight down the line style of Jack Webb, have opened the show up to imitation and parody.

"Thank God it's Friday!"

A self-confessed, long time fan of the show, Dan Aykroyd had long been interested in working on a tribute to the show, but had considered the likelihood of one happening slim. Forutnately for him, Universal called him up and asked if he were interested - within a week he had agreed to write the script.

Working out of the same department as his departed name-sake uncle, Sergeant Joe Friday (Aykroyd), straight-laced robbery/homicide detective has been assigned a new partner, Pep Streebeck (Tom Hanks). Together, they are to investigate a rash of serial crimes being performed throughout the city by an organisation known only as P.A.G.A.N. - People Against Goodness And Normalcy.

Along the way, Aykroyd mimics the styles and mannerisms of Webb in a way that not only pays homage, but also brings in the laughs. On the topic of acknowledging the film's origin, Harry Morgan, most well known these days as Colonel Potter from the long-running television show M*A*S*H, reprises his role of Bill Gannon from the 1967-era of Dragnet, now promoted to the rank of captain. All in all, a humourous look back at a piece of television history.

  Video
Contract

A decent video transfer here, in an anamorphically enhanced ratio of 1.77:1 (although IMDB would have us believe the original ratio was 1.85:1). Colours are vibrant, with natural skin tones throughout. Edges are sharp without being unnaturally so, and artifacting is very minimal. Overall, a nice transfer for a comedy film.

  Audio
Contract

Presented in Dolby Surround, the soundtrack does a reasonable job at keeping up with the film, making use of the wider soundstage for musical score and effects as appropriate. Dialogue is clear, and mostly centered throughout the feature, with no noticeable synch issues. Your rear speakers will get a little bit of use, mostly for the score, however there is the odd effect shot or two, if somewhat brief. Not an award winner, by any means, but not too shabby, either.

  Extras
Contract

Fortunately, we get a little more than "just the facts", receiving the Universal "standard package" of extras. First up, the production notes, half a dozen or so screens of text about the making of the film and the people involved - fairly interesting, but not very detailed. Complimenting the notes, we have the cast and crew bios, again a couple of screens of text on the actor in question (and most of the principle cast are presented here) as well as selected filmographies. Rounding out the package is, of course, the theatrical trailer, presented in non-anamorphic full frame, from a very dirty looking source.

Although mentioned on the pacakaging as containing web links, this reviewer was unable to find anything of the sort when playing with the disc in his DVD-ROM drive. It wouldn't be the first time that a discs specification had changed without the packaging department being told.

  Overall  
Contract

A fun film to watch, that looks like it may have been a fun film to make (Dabney Coleman with a lithp!) - it's a pity there's no blooper reel. If you're an Aykroyd fan, you can't really go wrong with this one.

And it's always good to see Tom Hanks before he was Hollywood's favourite leading man.


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      And I quote...
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