TV Review – IRONSIDE (1967)

IRONSIDE (TV) (1967, USA, 98m, PG) ***
Crime, Drama, Mystery
dist. National Broadcasting Company (NBC) (USA), BBC (UK); pr co. Harbour Productions Unlimited / Universal Television; d. James Goldstone; w. Don Mankiewicz (based on a story by Collier Young); pr. Collier Young; ph. John F. Warren (Technicolor | 1.33:1); m. Quincy Jones; ed. Edward W. Williams; ad. Loyd S. Papez.
cast: Raymond Burr (Robert Ironside), Geraldine Brooks (Honor Thompson), Wally Cox (Scoutmaster), Kim Darby (Ellen Wells), David Sheiner (Doctor), Lilia Skala (Sister Agatha), Gene Lyons (Commissioner Dennis Randall), Don Galloway (Det. Sgt. Ed Brown), Barbara Anderson (Eve Whitfield), Don Mitchell (Mark Sanger), Joel Fabiani (Dr. Schley), Ayllene Gibbons (Baby Peggy Marvel), Terrence O’Flaherty (Announcer), Eddie Firestone (Wheels Montana), Tony Dante (Pressman Bar), Nicholas Colasanto (Mr. Matling (uncredited)), Antonio Fargas (T.D. Harris (uncredited)), Stuart Margolin (News Show Staff (uncredited)), Tiny Tim (Art House Performer (uncredited)), Grace Lee Whitney (Stripper (uncredited)).
Pilot movie for the TV series which ran for eight seasons from 1967 to 1975. Character actor and former Perry Mason star Raymond Burr gives an imposing performance as the San Francisco Chief of Detectives paralysed by a gunshot wound. He is then given the role of consultant to the police commissioner with his own small team and his first remit is to track down the person who shot him. Goldstone directs the story a little frenetically, with fast cuts and tight shots, and the tone shifts jarringly from time to time. The 1960s vibe is very much in evidence, notably in the segment exploring the arts scene, in which Tiny Tim has a truly bizarre cameo. The lack of location shooting (the shots of San Francisco are limited to stock footage) gives the film a studio set base that narrows its scope. The mystery elements are also perfunctory. Where the film scores is in the characterisation of Ironside and his team (Galloway, Anderson and Mitchell), all of whom would return for the full series. The theme music and score is by Quincy Jones.
EN: Outstanding Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Drama (Raymond Burr); Outstanding Writing Achievement in Drama (Don Mankiewicz).