Showing posts with label JACK WEBB. Show all posts
Showing posts with label JACK WEBB. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 1, 2020


RIP Los Angles: Celebrity Grave: "Dragnet" Actor & Producer Jack ...
For Jack Webb, the man was a right-wing law and order, probable homophobic, anti-commie, racist scum-slinger, but he had chops as a filmmaker, as someone capable of telling a compelling, compulsively watchable bit of propaganda. I wrote a paper on him in college which compared him to classic auteur hero Sam Fuller, mainly for the purpose that Webb, in his movies, met and exceeded the qualification required to be a film “AUTHOR” and hence the single creator of a movie.

He had a world view that was clear and consistent across his films. He had an identifiable visual style that he applied to specific genre conventions, such as crime drama, war comedy and musical noir. His characters were variations on a number of types that served to make the plot move along, such as the tough but fair cop, the loyal but naive sidekick, the cynical but honest reporter and the glamorous but troubled singer. The narratives contained a set of values that were threatened and needed to be protected, such as patriotism, justice, family and tradition. And there was an obvious morality that was never far under the surface in his story-lines, where good always triumphed over evil and order always prevailed over chaos.I chose Webb because I always found Fuller a bit arch and melodramatic, while Webb had a certain charm and flair that made his films more appealing to me. So why compare him to someone who is bit cornball and stiff but with such a righteous sense of self-confident style that you cannot help but watch his films over and over? Because I wanted to challenge the conventional wisdom that Fuller was the essential American auteur and Webb was just a hack who made propaganda for the establishment. I wanted to show that Webb had his own artistic vision and expression that deserved recognition and respect.

I’ve said more than once that Webb is the auteur critics never seemed to talk about. I wonder if anyone’s done a study of his film work, such as 30 (1959), The D.I. (1957), Pete Kelly’s Blues (1955), The Last Time I Saw Archie (1961), Dragnet (1954), Dragnet 1966 (1969) and The LSD Story (1967). Not a lot of feature films, but more than Norman Mailer, who got a hefty study from a film scholar a few years ago. And though one is never going to get past what is unintentionally comic in the films, such as the wooden acting, the cheesy dialogue and the dated effects, there are times when I just shook my head after watching The D.I. or 30 realizing that I just watched a movie made by a man in full expressive control of his talent."