Dialing for Dollars Movie Dept. -The 1967 David Janssen film Warning Shot was on Encore Action the other night and called to me thanks to its high recommendation in the program guide and the fact that I've got a soft spot for manly late '60s/early '70s flicks lately. I guess I'm hunting for another Charley Varrick, but I need to keep looking. The plot -- Janssen as a cop named Valens who shoots an apparently innocent man and spends the rest of the movie trying to clear himself -- is about as deep as a half-empty kiddie pool...the kind of earnestly bloodless, sexless pre-Dirty Harry drama that used to fill airtime between the news and the National Anthem on pre-cable late-night TV. Despite Janssen's then-current role in the popular "The Fugitive" for ABC, the studio hedged their bet by packing the cast with a non-stop barrage of name and significant character actors. Keenan Wynn, Ed Begley (Sr.), Stefanie Powers, Carroll O'Connor, Joan Collins, Walter Pidgeon, Steve Allen (typecast as a noxious trash-talk show host), and Lillian Gish all walk through for at least a scene or two, and George Grizzard has the best lines in the movie as a swinging-sixties airline co-pilot. I admit to appreciating the testosterone-soaked set design in Valens' den, with its phony gas fireplace, service revolvers hanging everywhere and knotty wood paneling on the walls and ceiling. Plus whoever lit this movie lit the living fuck out of it, which is a good thing 'cause despite being set in Los Angeles it wanders off the soundstage no more frequently than your average "Dragnet" episode. I give it 0 on the Erland scale -- not bad enough for the MST3K treatment, but not good enough to sit through as the second feature at the local drive-in either.
Previously at Studio Nibble...Home