Fuzz (1972)

Fuzz (1972), directed by Richard A. Colla.

This is another film that will mostly interest readers of the book, or books, in this case the long running 87th Precinct series. The IMDB rating is a low 5.5, so I would guess most viewers are not fans. True, it's not much, but I kind of like the proto-"Hill Street Blues" thing. The comedy is more absurd than I would have imagined, but the author wrote the screenplay: Ed McBain aka Evan Hunter, originally Salvatore Albert Lombino. Who knows if the result is what he intended?

We have the mean, grubby streets of the big city (El trains!) and the chaotic squad room full of police "characters". The painters are in this week, making everything more difficult. Detective Burt Reynolds is a decoy bum, trying to catch kids who are setting bums on fire. Detective Raquel Welch is on rape decoy. Both have too much star power for this sort of film, but that's show biz.

Yul Brynner is the Deaf Man, a criminal mastermind with a murderous extortion scheme. In the books he pops up every few years and they never catch him. He's a genius, but crazier each time. He kills without compunction and has a strange power over women.

The book had more plot apparatus to support the big "everyone arrives at once" shootout, but I don't recall the details.

Set in Boston. The 87th Precinct is actually in the fictional city of Isola, a parallel Manhattan.

The "setting bums on fire" scene caused controversy when some kids really did it. And look at that nifty little punch-card phone dialer! I saw one on TV once when I was a kid and never again.

Funky score by David Grusin.

The DVD is 4:3 letterboxed. Some of the night scenes are poor.