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Judge Maurice Cobbs's Blog

Judge Maurice Cobbs • Location: Athens, GA
• Member since: September 2004
• 53 full reviews
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Jack Webb Film Festival!
May 31st, 2005 8:08PM

I was sitting in my secret hidden sanctum, in my smoking jacket and slippers, reading Give War A Chance and listening to my Romantic Reflections by Jack Webb album, when it occurred to me that we need more Jack Webb on DVD. With the impending release of the 60's Dragnet on DVD (can we hope that the 1954 and 1966 movie versions are soon to come?), my mind began to wander towards that shining utopia that the world would be if Jack Webb were properly represented on DVD with these essential J. W. movies:

Dark City
(1950)

Although not a starring role for our loveable Jack, this is nevertheless a decent crime thriller. Arthur Winant is a grade-A pigeon, and it doesn't take Danny Haley and his pals long to figure that out. So the fleece the sucker in a series of rigged poker games to the tune of five large -- money that doesn't belong to the hapless Arthur, who promptly hangs himself. No skin off Haley's teeth... until Winant's mysterious big brother shows up on the scene. Suddenly, the dark city is a very dangerous place for Haley and his cronies...

Appointment with Danger
(1951)

Jack Webb and Harry Morgan on the wrong side of the law? That's the way it is, True Believer! Alan Ladd stars as Al Goddard, the most bad-ass postal inspector in the history of the U.S. Postal Service, on a mission to smash up a band of murdering train robbers, including the vicious Webb (who beats Morgan to death at one point in the film). Yowza!

Pete Kelly's Blues
(1955)

One of my all-time favorite Jack Webb movies. Webb is poker-faced 1920's jazzman Pete Kelly in one of the most gritty and hard-boiled films about the Jazz Age I've ever seen. The cast is as good as it can possibly get for the material: Lee Marvin is one of Kelly's sidemen, a gentle man who doesn't like the rough stuff; Andy Devine is wonderfully cast against type as a brutal, corrupt cop; Edmund O'Brien is gangster Fran McCarg, who beats his alcoholic saloon singer moll Rose (Peggy Lee) into an insane asylum; and Janet Leigh is Pete's love interest. Also featuring Ella Fitzgerald, Martin Milner, and Jayne Mansfield. A must see for anyone who loves a good gritty noir drama -- in Cinemascope.

The D.I.
(1957)

Another of my all-time Webb favorites. This time, Jack is T/Sgt. Jim Moore, who's twice as tough as a boiled owl and meaner than diarrhea. But he can't seem to get Pvt. Owens (Don Dubbins) to shape up. Still, Sgt. Moore is determined to make a Marine out of the boy -- because he's convinced that "there's a man underneath that baby powder." But Capt. Anderson is fed up with the screw-up: he's giving Moore just three days to whip Owens into shape!

The Commies Are Coming! The Commies Are Coming!
(1962)

I can't even... nothing I could say would do this movie justice. When Jerry Donovan wakes up one morning, he finds that all the precious freedoms he's taken for granted are gone -- because the Communists have taken over the country! This is a movie that really, really needs to find its way to DVD. That's all. Highly reccommended.


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