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January 04, 2011

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Lou Lumenick

Nice writeup, Glenn, on one of my favorites, which also offers Richard Deacon of "The Dick Van Dyke Show'' as a sarcastic staff artist and Howard McNear of "The Andy Griffith Show'' as the fussbudget wire editor. I especially love the way Conrad makes his coffee. The doomed flyer is the rewrite woman's grandson, though.

Stephen Whitty

Yes, a fave of all ink-stained wretches (I'm looking up at a particularly garish, pink-toned lobbycard as I type this). "Park Row" too. Although, for '50s newsprint dramas, I still gotta go for "Deadline, U.S.A," and Bogart.

"That's the power of the press, baby! The power of the press. And there's nothing you can do about it."

sigh.

jbryant

Aw, jeez, now I gotta sell some plasma or something and score this thing. Big Webb fan-boy, so the lack of printer's ink in my blood shouldn't be an issue. If "Mel Cooley" and "Floyd the Barber" are on board, that's just gravy.

I also need to re-see PETE KELLY'S BLUES pretty bad (I think I have enough plasma). Have seen and dug the DRAGNET feature and THE D.I. As for THE LAST TIME I SAW ARCHIE, well, I'd watch it again in a heartbeat, but yeah, "ineffable" is one way to describe it. The episodic structure and bursts of broad humor make the film feel like 3 or 4 sitcom episodes strung together. Webb's visual imagination, so evident in his other film and TV work, is only fitfully apparent. Nonetheless, there's some good stuff, almost all of it between Webb and Robert Mitchum, who work very well together in a subtle comic style. An entire film in that tone might have been aces, but the belabored wackiness of some of the supporting cast didn't work for me.

jbryant

Peter: Well, there ya go. I had to rent an old VHS from Eddie Brandt's video store in North Hollywood to see it a few years back. Now it's just a click away. The DRAGNET feature is there, too. Now if they'd just get the other Webb films on there.

Paul Duane

The other weird place Jack Webb turns up is in the list of recommendations at the back of the Incredibly Strange Films book. There, right alongside Andy Milligan and the rest of the sick crew, is a listing for Webb's drill sergeant melodrama, The D.I., which (I hate to admit) I haven't yet managed to track down.

Nice to see a mention for the great work of weirdo scholarship that is the Psychotronic Encyclopaedia. Whatever else I do in my life, getting a byline in Michael Weldon's Psychotronic Video magazine is always going to be one of my proudest achievements.

Griff

Excellent commentary on my favorite Webb picture. Of all of the major newspaper pictures, I give this one particularly high marks for paying careful attention to the actual work and details -- not just the "nuts-and-bolts jargon" -- of city room activity. Yes, it's melodramatic, sentimental, corny... but it also has a certain electricity and drive. Some of its strength, oddly, derives from its determined "this is a day like any other day" atmosphere. Though a major plot thread involves an endangered child, much of the picture's real interest emerges simply from the interplay of the characters and the work we see them perform; they do this daily, bringing out the morning paper is an important job. [Webb and Bowers deserve credit for resisting the temptation to involve thugs or gangsters in the film's plot; this is above all a human story.] Nice work from Conrad, Webb and the colorful supporting cast; David Nelson isn't bad in the thankless role as the green copyboy, but it's an unimaginable continuity flaw for us to accept that he could be a Korean War vet.

Now, MGM, how about PARK ROW?

Escher

A few years back, on his "Whoops I'm an Indian" cd, Hal Willner built an absolutely brilliant track called "Do You Hear Me (No Pie)" around a Jack Webb dialogue sample from THE D.I.

christian

THE LAST TIME I SAW ARCHIE shows that Jack Webb had less comic sensibility than Otto Preminger. It's more of a William Bowers film though.

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