Abraham Polonsky's screenplay adaptation of Richard Dougherty's novel The Commissioner is tough and to the point, bringing out the side issue problems but without dallying with them overmuch.
Abraham Polonsky’s screenplay adaptation of Richard Dougherty’s novel The Commissioner is tough and to the point, bringing out the side issue problems but without dallying with them overmuch.
Pic gets away to a flying start, with Richard Widmark as a dedicated cop who isn’t above using his badge for some fringe benefits, and sidekick Harry Guardino bursting into a sleazy bedroom to pick up a wanted killer for questioning.
Momentarily distracted by the nude broad in the room Widmark and Guardino are taken off guard and the psychopathic killer, played with menacing hysteria by Steve Ihnat, goes on the lam. Cops are given 72 hours to pick him up.
This is a good solid big-city adventure yarn with Widmark at his best. Guardino tags along satisfactorily as his buddy. Henry Fonda plays the commissioner with the cool austerity and deceptive slowness that he made peculiarly his own and James Whitmore is a tower of strength as the chief inspector.