Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Golden Gate Murders

He’s a cop. She’s a nun. Together, they solve a murder in THE GOLDEN GATE MURDERS, an entertaining made-for-TV crime drama that teams the distinguished British actress Susannah York (THEY SHOOT HORSES, DON’T THEY?) with the crusty and busy television star David Janssen (THE FUGITIVE). The plot is typical cop-show stuff, but Janssen was never uninteresting on the small screen.

A priest (Regis Cordic) plummets over the side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Investigating is gruff, wisecracking police detective Paul Silver (Janssen), eight years on the graveyard shift, but temporarily switched by boss Tim O’Connor (BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY) to days. What seems like an open-and-shut case of suicide is exacerbated by the priest’s nurse, Sister Benecia (York), who is convinced he would never kill himself.

Because director Walter Grauman gives us glimpses of Cordic going over the side, we know he was murdered (the title also gives away the mystery), so while writer David Kinghorn (TWO FATHERS’ JUSTICE) sends the stars through their procedural paces, we derive pleasure from the chemistry between them. Of course, romance is out (or is it?), but the distinguished York brings out the best in the hilariously brusque Janssen, who probably isn’t ad-libbing, but is so natural in his line-readings that he sometimes appears to be. He wears sunglasses a lot, which may be to hide red eyes (he’s funny when shopping with York and nonchalantly filling his cart with liquor bottles, telling her, “I entertain a lot”).

The production is surprisingly cheap for a ‘70s TV-movie with Grauman shooting driving scenes against an unconvincing screen and bridge scenes on unconvincing sets. Janssen died a few months after CBS aired THE GOLDEN GATE MURDERS against Game 1 of the American League Championship Series between the Orioles and Angels.

6 comments:

roadgeek said...

My wife and I are currently watching "The Fugitive". We're going to have two episodes tonight. David Janssen was a fine actor, who died too soon. We're looking forward to watching "Harry O".

Bill O said...

An workaholic/alcoholic, DJ finally had the latter interfere with the former, and had to be talked to by former Fugitive director Grauman.

roadgeek said...

I didn't know he had a problem with his elbow. I'm waiting for the definitive book to be written about Quinn Martin and all the work he did on television, and such a book would need to talk about Janssen and his troubles.

Grant said...

I might have asked this before, but have you ever reviewed the TV movie NIGHT CHASE / L.A. CAB with Janssen and Yaphet Kotto? It's very underrated.

Marty McKee said...

I saw NIGHT CHASE years ago. Would love to track down a copy of it.

Grant said...

I have an okay copy from TV (maybe it isn't great-LOOKING, but it's unedited) that I could lend you if you'd like.