Case Number 24494: Small Claims Court


Paramount // 1975 // 1159 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge P.S. Colbert // September 12th, 2012

The Charge

"The sin lurking behind the sunshine"

The Case

When the murder of his partner brings a veteran detective (Clu Gulager, The Virginian) to the end of his rope, Inspector George Turner throws a dirty bomb at the city's junkies by poisoning a kilo of heroin, and putting it out on the streets. And that's just for starters. Lt. Mike Stone (Karl Malden, Fear Strikes Out) and Inspector Steve Keller (Michael Douglas, Falling Down) put in a lot of overtime (presumably without pay) during these twenty three assignments of The Streets Of San Francisco: Season 4.

* "Poisoned Snow"
* "The Glass Dart Board"
* "No Place To Hide"
* "Men Will Die"
* "School Of Fear"
* "Deadly Silence"
* "Murder By Proxy"
* "Trail Of Terror"
* "Web Of Lies"
* "Dead Air"
* "Merchants Of Death"
* "The Cat's Paw"
* "Spooks For Sale"
* "Most Likely To Succeed"
* "Police Buff"
* "The Honorable Profession"
* "Requiem For Murder"
* "Underground"
* "Judgment Day"
* "Clown Of Death"
* "Superstar"
* "Alien Country"
* "Runaway"

Actor Larry Hagman may have the best laugh in the business. I'm not talking about a trademark laugh, like Eddie Murphy, Julia Roberts, or the one employed by Ron Palillo in the role of Arnold Horshack on Welcome Back Kotter. Those are attention-getters, used like tag-lines (Heck, try and think of a movie trailer starring Murphy or Roberts that doesn't feature their patented cackles!). Hagman uses laughter like a sculptor uses clay, modulating it to fit the character or the situation at hand. As Astronaut Tony Nelson in I Dream Of Jeannie, his haw-haws registered merriment, shock, terror, and desperation. His J.R. Ewing on Dallas affected a villainous baritone chuckle, perfectly suited for an evil oil baron. In "Dead Air," the versatile actor plays Tony Vine, an ambitious, honey-voiced daytime radio host. When asked what he'd resort to in order to reach the top, Vine casually responds: "Anything. Anything. Up to and including..." Hagman ends the sentence with a giddy giggle that leaves no doubt about which word it's substituting for, and the substitution makes the statement all the more chilling.

Season Four was a big year for classic sitcom stars looking to make a dramatic splash in this city by the bay. Bill Bixby (The Courtship of Eddie's Father) received an Emmy nomination for his appearance in "Police Buff." Robert Reed (The Brady Bunch) plays a practicing physician who never let a lack of certification stop him in "The Honorable Profession." Meredith Baxter (Family Ties) is wanted for armed robbery in "Deadly Silence." And John Ritter (Three's Company), Sorrell Booke (The Dukes Of Hazzard), and Gordon Jump (WKRP In Cincinnati) pool their talents in "Murder By Proxy."

What can I tell you? Besides the kitsch value of the '70s wardrobe, hairstyles, and huge gas guzzling vehicles, The Streets of San Francisco remained rock solid throughout its fourth season, delivering yet another set of top-notch procedurals...with one exception. The C-grade episode "Superstar" served as a pilot for the short-lived spin-off series Bert D'Angelo, Superstar, starring Paul Sorvino (Goodfellas), a fantastic actor who deserved much better.

The gristle and grit seen on these standard definition 1.33:1 full frame transfers is kept to a minimum; no mean feat, considering the episodes have been around for almost forty years. The Dolby 2.0 Mono mix has held up better than my ears, which makes the English SDH captions a blessing. No extras here folks, just the straight dope.

One final caveat: Viewers are advised to apply extra suspension of belief during the chase and brawl scenes where Paul Sorvino's taller and trimmer stunt double takes over.

The Verdict

Not Guilty.

Review content copyright © 2012 P.S. Colbert; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 91

Perp Profile
Studio: Paramount
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)

* English (SDH)

Running Time: 1159 Minutes
Release Year: 1975
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* None

* IMDb