Johnny Staccato starring John Cassavetes - 3 DVD Box Set!
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I especially liked seeing Johnny slowly smooching with feline Elizabeth Montgomery, and bristling insolently at obnoxious N.Y.P.D. sgt. Bert Freed. There are plenty of other top actors, like Martin Landau, Shirley Knight, Cloris Leachman, Harry Guardino, and Gena Rowlands. Dig the exciting "crime-jazz" music scores from the great Elmer Bernstein. Cassavetes himself directs many episodes, as do some directors who would helm episodes of "Thriller" a year later, like John Brahm and Paul Henreid. A multitude of scriptwriters drop the Staccato character into many varied odd kinds of adventures, but he is always the cool cat with a warm heart and a six-shot gat! "Johnny Staccato" was much too cool a show to last long, but now we can savor every thrilling b&w/film noir episode. Unleashed from dark vaults after fifty years, crisp in picture and audio, "Johnny Staccato" is cause to celebrate. Highly recommended!!
It can be tempting to write Johnny Staccato off as merely a ripoff of Peter Gunn. After all, both Staccato and Gunn are New York P.I.'s that hang around the jazz scene. The big difference with Staccato is that jazz isn't just something he hangs around for information, but he's truly a part of it as a musician. The scenes of Staccato on the piano are priceless. The music of the lates 50s pulses through Johnny Staccato.
In addition, every episode of Peter Gunn seems to end with at least two, and usually four dead bodies. Staccato often ended the show with no dead bodies. Cassavettes influence made Johnny Stacatto much more a Detective Drama than it did Peter Gunn's shooting gallery.
Also, another big difference between Peter Gunn and Johnny Staccato is that while "Mother" in Peter Gunn seemed to exist in the story primarily as a plot device and the owner of Peter Gunn's favorite hangout, Waldo (Eduardo Ciannelli) who owns Johnny's favorite spot is a far more fleshed out and there's an almost father-son dynamic of their relationship.Read more ›
The half-hour drama is a lost form these days, but this single season shows just how much could be done with it. Dark, often violent stories of the human condition unfold compactly, with dialogue that's a heady mixture of hipster lingo, jazz slang, noir one-liners & semi-Freudian literary prose from Greenwich Village theater. Johnny Staccato lives in a sort of Limbo made of cigarette smoke, dirty secrets, subterranean stairs & tunnels & bare-bulbed little rooms -- but there's the occasional gleam of honest love & human decency as well -- there's even the remote possibility of actual justice from time to time.
It's a pity there aren't any extras on this set, but the episodes themselves are a pleasure, and the price is quite reasonable. Frankly, I'll take it over most contemporary TV shows without hesitation -- if you want to make the scene, it's highly recommended, baby!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
good series but short.. I remember it from the early sixties.. I like the Jazz aspect..Published 11 months ago by Frank Pew
What can you say? Cassavetes, cool jazz, shoot'em up plots with some swinging early 60s actors: It just don't get better than this!Published 15 months ago by MORTY S. TASHMAN
I used to hurry home on Sun nites to watch Johnny Staccato. John Cassavetes was a great actor. No wonder Gina Rowlands married him. Really glad this finally got on DVD.Published 20 months ago by Don Davis
You gotta love Cassavetes! He was as much a great personnality actor as much as an independant movie director. He wouldn't do or participate in no dull film. Read morePublished 21 months ago by H. Alexandre
The episodes making up this show were a bit more edgy than the Peter Gun series. I like the music in both shows. Read morePublished 23 months ago by William