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Dragnet Details


At the height of the popularity of his 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 . 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 Ann Robinson 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 . Some sources list Cliff Arquette as being in the cast of , playing his familiar Charley Weaver character, but we can't find him. 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, 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, was a satisfying and profitable feature film directorial debut for Jack Webb, whose subsequent efforts included Cliff Arquette (1955), Cliff Arquette (1957), Cliff Arquette (1959) and Cliff Arquette (1961). ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


Jack Webb
as Sgt. Joe Friday
Ben Alexander
as Officer Frank Smith
Richard Boone
as Capt. Hamilton
Ann Robinson
as Grace Downey
Virginia Gregg
as Ethel Marie Starkie
Vic Perrin
as Adolph Alexander
Georgia Ellis
as Belle Davitt
James Griffith
as Jesse Quinn
Dick Cathcart
as Roy Cleaver
Malcolm Atterbury
as Lee Reinhard
Willard Sage
as Chester Davitt
Dennis Weaver
as Captain Lohrman
Herb Vigran
as Mr. Archer
Virginia Christine
as Mrs. Caldwell
Guy Hamilton
as Walker Scott
Harry Bartell
as Lt. Stevens
Herb Ellis
as Booking Sergeant
Harlan Warde
as Interne
Harry Lauter
as Officer Greeley
Jean Dean
as Pat, the secretary
Meg Myles
as Cuban Singer
Mauritz Hugo
as Jailer
Gayle Kellogg
as Officer Keeler
Dub Taylor
as Miller Starkie
Ross Elliott
as Intelligence Officer
Cliff Arquette
as Charlie Weaver
Dick Paxton
as Hotel Clerk


Jack Webb
Edward Colman
Walter Schumann
Composer (Music Score)