Dragnet (1987 film)

Dragnet

Theatrical poster
Directed by Tom Mankiewicz
Produced by Bernie Brillstein
David Permut
Robert K. Weiss
Written by Jack Webb
Dan Aykroyd
Alan Zweibel
Tom Mankiewicz
Starring Dan Aykroyd
Tom Hanks
Christopher Plummer
Harry Morgan
Alexandra Paul
Dabney Coleman
Music by Ira Newborn
Cinematography Matthew F. Leonetti
Editing by William D. Gordeon
Richard Halsey
Distributed by Universal Studios
Release date(s) June 26, 1987 (1987-06-26)
Running time 106 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million
Box office $66,673,516

Dragnet is a 1987 film comedy starring Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks, directed by Tom Mankiewicz, based on the television crime drama of the same name starring Jack Webb. The screenplay is written by Aykroyd, Alan Zweibel and Mankiewicz. The original music score is by Ira Newborn. The film was marketed with the tagline "Just the Facts."

At Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a 46% composite score.[1]

Contents

Overview

Acting as both a parody and homage to the long-running Dragnet television series, Aykroyd plays Joe Friday (nephew of the original star of the series) while Hanks plays Pep Streebek, his new partner.

Harry Morgan reprises his role of Bill Gannon (partner of Friday's late uncle), having been promoted to captain. Alexandra Paul plays Friday's love interest, while Christopher Plummer plays the villain, a soft-spoken televangelist, who secretly runs a cult of Pagan anarchists. Dabney Coleman plays the publisher of a skin magazine called Bait.

As did the TV series, the movie begins with Sergeant Friday's voice-over narration about Los Angeles and (nearly) ends with a mug shot of the villain and a stern voice-over describing the sentencing.

The title credits featured an update to the series original theme by the British group Art of Noise. They set the Dragnet theme against a hip-hop style breakbeat with soundbites such as Friday's "Just the facts, ma'am" timed to the music.

The soundtrack includes an original song, "City of Crime." The track features a hip-hop style collaboration between Aykroyd and Hanks that is performed with bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes and guitarist Pat Thrall. The track is played over the film's closing credits. The best selling single also had a music video shot for the track, which was played in heavy rotation on MTV in the summer of 1987.

Plot

LAPD Sgt. Joe Friday's nephew and namesake (Dan Aykroyd), whose anachronistic views reflect those of his late uncle, is involuntarily assigned to a smart-alecky, street-wise partner, Pep Streebek (Tom Hanks). Their contrasting styles clash at first, Friday disapproving of his young partner's attitude, hair, and wardrobe, but they gradually bond over their first case as a team, an investigation of a series of bizarre thefts involving items as disparate as a tanker full of chemicals, a wedding dress, a lion's mane, and the entire monthly print run of the pornographic magazine "Bait".

The cops follow the trail to an Orange County-based cult calling itself P.A.G.A.N. (People Against Goodness And Normalcy). Friday and Streebek focus on one of the cult's henchmen, a brutish limousine driver named Emil Muzz (Jack O'Halloran).

An informer tells them that a local milk factory is being used by the P.A.G.A.N.s to mass-produce a toxic gas made from the chemicals they stole. Friday and Streebek commandeer a police tank and use it for a destructive raid of the factory, which turns out to really be producing only milk. The real gas factory being next door.

Friday and Streebek disguise themselves and sneak into a secret P.A.G.A.N. ceremony where they witness the masked P.A.G.A.N leader attempting to sacrifice a virgin, Miss Connie Swail (Alexandra Paul). Friday and Streebek disrupt the ceremony and save Swail from being eaten by a pair of giant snakes. In the process, Swail and Friday discover a mutual attraction and he invites her to join him at a birthday dinner for his maternal grandmother, Mrs. Mundy. To Friday's chagrin, Streebek crashes the dinner party, but his partner charms Granny Mundy with his outgoing demeanor.

At a restaurant, Connie identifies a fellow patron, the televangelist Reverend Dr. Jonathan Whirley (Christopher Plummer), as the P.A.G.A.N. leader. This puts Friday and Streebek in a difficult position, since Whirley is not only a highly respected community leader, but he is also currently dining with their boss, Capt. Bill Gannon (Harry Morgan), and Police Commissioner Kirkpatrick (Elizabeth Ashley), a personal friend of the Reverend. Despite Whirley's political influence and Streebek's warnings, Friday tries to publicly arrest Whirley, which motivates Kirkpatrick to suspend Friday and order Gannon to take Streebek off the case.

In retaliation, Connie is kidnapped by Whirley and taken to the estate of pornography magnate Jerry Caesar (Dabney Coleman), whose business has become so infiltrated by the cult that his mansion has become its de facto headquarters.

Gannon reinstates Friday, who leads a S.W.A.T. team along with Streebek in a raid on Caesar's mansion. During the ensuing shootout between the P.A.G.A.N.s and the police, Whirley takes Connie hostage and escapes to the airport, where he takes off in his private Learjet. His getaway ends when Friday pursues him in a police T-38 jet, forcing him to return to Los Angeles and land.

An epilogue reveals that Friday is still working with Streebek and dating Connie; his smirk in response to Streebek's question about her virginity hints that the couple may have started a physical relationship.

Cast

Actor Role
Dan Aykroyd Sgt. Joe Friday
Tom Hanks Det. Pep Streebek
Christopher Plummer Reverend Jonathan Whirley
Harry Morgan Captain Bill Gannon
Alexandra Paul The Virgin Connie Swail
Jack O'Halloran Emil Muzz
Elizabeth Ashley Commissioner Jane Kirkpatrick
Dabney Coleman Jerry Caesar
Kathleen Freeman Enid Borden
Bruce Gray Mayor Peter Parvin
Lenka Peterson Granny Mundy

Endnotes

External links


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