GUNN (1967). Director: Blake Edwards. Screenplay by Edwards and William Peter Blatty.
"My theory is that the human race is just a temporary experiment on the earth, and the experiment is failing" -- Lt. Jacoby
The TV series Peter Gunn had been off the air for seven years -- it ran three seasons from 1958 - 1960 -- when this big-screen adaptation played in theaters. Craig Stevens [Where the Sidewalk Ends] was forty-nine when he reprised the character in spite of the fact that private eyes in the movies were quickly being replaced by super-spies like James Bond. [The poster art for the movie tried to make it seem like an 007-type adventure, which it isn't.] The supporting players on the TV show were replaced in the movie, with Laura Devon filling in for Lola Albright as singer/sometime girlfriend, Edie; Ed Asner substituting for Herschel Bernardi as Lt. Jacoby; and -- of all people -- Wagnerian opera diva Helen Traubel taking over from Hope Emerson and Minerva Urekal as Mother, who owns the nightclub where Edie sings and Peter kibitzes. Gunn, despite being in color with slightly more elaborate production values, plays like an extra-long episode of the series. When a mobster named Scarlatti is murdered, the chief suspect is another criminal character named Fusco (Albert Paulsen). A shady lady named Daisy Jane (Marion Marshall) hires Peter to prove that Fusco was the killer. Along the way there are a couple more dead bodies for Gunn to trip over. To make the whole thing more contemporary, Mother's nightspot is turned into a rock club (after it is, once again, blown up, as it was at least once in the series), and one of the characters turns out to be a transvestite/transsexual a la Mickey Spillane [see the Mike Hammer novel, Vengeance is Mine.] There are a couple of twists and a fairly vicious final fight scene. Stevens plays Gunn in the same [one] note as before, and the other actors are fine, with Jean Carson making an impression as a flippant waitress in a diner.
Verdict: Perhaps this "gunn" was fired once too often. **.