It seems the late, great actor, David Jansen always chased fame during his cinematic life. On television he was 'the fugitive' and due to its popularity, became not only a household name, but a fixture in American language. On screen, his movies are a thin veneer of what he really could have achieved. As one of his most ardent fans, I always believed he would one day peak. In this film called " Warning Shot " he came awful close to the mark. Within the story he plays Sgt. Tom Valens, a veteran L.A. police officer with a serious approach to his job. However five years prior, he tried to arrest a scared young punk who fired his gun hitting Valens in the gut, leaving him apprehensive about future suspects with guns. As a result, when Valens is assigned to a stakeout at an exclusive apartment complex, he confronts another frightened suspect and orders him to halt. The suspect instead runs suspiciously and when cornered draws what appears to be a pistol, prompting Valens to shoot first. It is later learned the man Valens' killed was not only a revered and social philanthropist, but a highly respected doctor, catering to the poor. Sadly, no gun can be found. Suspended from duty and placed on leave, Valens is advised to enlist a high profile attorney who like most others, advises his client to plead guilty and ask for leniency. Valens states he is a sore looser and opts instead to prove the good doctor was not so saintly as everyone seems to think he was. The film is highly underrated and with the star power has become a cult favorite. Ed Begley who plays Capt. Roy Klodin, Keenan Wynn who plays Sgt. Ed Musso, Carroll O'Connor, Steve Allen, George Sanders and Walter Pideon are among the most notable stars who have bit parts in the film. Together, along with the haunting theme by Jerry Goldsmith they are the reason why this film succeeds in becoming a David Jansen Classic. ****
Crime / Mystery / Thriller
Crime / Mystery / Thriller
Keywords: los angeles, californiaprivate detective
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Police Sergeant Tom Valens (David Janssen) kills a man who pulls a gun on him during a stakeout. But the dead suspect is a respected doctor with no criminal record and the man's gun cannot be found, and the Sergeant is charged with manslaughter. The Sergeant works to clear his name and determine where the gun went and why the doctor was there at all.
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" Then my only option is to prove Dr. Rustin was no saint "
Depression In the Orange Groves
Warning Shot is a good, old-fashioned movie. David Janssen is the star, and acts in his usual style, like a cross between Alan Ladd and Jack Webb. The film is a murder mystery about a cop who claims to have killed a man in self-defense, only he can't find the gun he said the man was aiming at him. Buzz Kulik was a gifted director, and he handles this one well. Some people don't like this movie because it resembles a television show, as it does suggest in its visual style and art direction an episode of Mannix. This is too bad. It doesn't bother me at all, and the film is a hundred times better than Mannix ever was. Janssen was always at his best when hunted or woebegone. There was a quality to him,--I wouldn't call it sensitivity exactly--vulnerability, "hit-ability"; whatever it is, it's on full display here, and he does get badly beaten up at one point. The supporting cast is outstanding, with Ed Begley, Eleanor Parker, Keenan Wynn, Stefanie Powers and George Grizzard all first-rate. There's less for Walter Pidgeon and Steve Allen to do, though it's always nice to see them in anything. George Sanders has a small part as well, though he doesn't get a chance to shine, he seldom did in his later years.
The movie was one of several attempts to revive the forties crime film, whether of the noir or detective variety, probably inspired by the burgeoning Bogart cult of the sixties. Frank Sinatra and Lee Marvin appeared in a few like this, and Warning Shot is Janssen's crack at it. This is my favorite of the group. It's lean and fast-paced, a bit episodic, but in a good way. There's a lot of exposition, and a few false leads, but it's never tedious. I like the downbeat, depression in the orange groves, west coast Chandleresque aspect of the film, with palm and stucco everywhere, and cars that seem the size of today's SUV's only they're just Fords and Plymouths. Warning Shot's a period piece, but an entertaining one.
very watchable--a lot like an episode of Dragnet without Joe Friday
Despite making a few lousy films, such as DONDI and THE GREEN BERETS, I've always liked David Janssen. He was a pretty good actor and I like seeing movies featuring relatively unattractive people because they are much more like us, the average viewer, than the more glamorous stars.
WARNING SHOT is just one of the movies Janssen did that I really like. It's a seemingly ordinary story about a police shooting but it is so well-written and realistic that the film sucks you inside and keeps your attention. It has the look of a TV movie (with its production values) that is written for a thinking audience who doesn't just want to watch shoot outs and fights.