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A TATTERED WEB (TV)(director: Paul Wendkos; screenwriter: Art Wallace; cinematographer: Michel Hugo; editor: Jack McSweeney; music: Robert Drasnin; cast: Lloyd Bridges (Sgt. Ed Stagg), Frank Converse (Steve Butler), Sallie Shockley (Tina Butler), Murray Hamilton (Sgt. Joe Marcus), Walter Brooke (Lt. Preston), Ellen Corby (Mrs. Simmons), Whit Bissell (Mr. Harland), Broderick Crawford (Willard Edson), Anne Helm (Louise Campbell); Runtime: 73; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Bob Markell; Treeline Films; 1971)
“Never satisfies with its unconvincing psychological dramatics.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Paul Wendkos (“The Burglar”/”Gidget”/”Angel Baby”)directs this uninteresting made for TV police drama. The moralistic crime drama, written by Art Wallace, is filled with histrionics and comes with an unpleasant and banal story. It looks more like TV viewing than a movie, and never satisfies with its unconvincing psychological dramatics.

Hard-nosed veteran homicide Detective Sergeant Ed Stagg (Lloyd Bridges) becomes unglued when his oil rigger son-in-law Steve Butler (Frank Converse) is cheating on his daughter Tina (Sallie Shockley). Ever since wifey skipped out of the marriage thirteen years ago, single parent Ed has been overprotective of Tina. The couple live with him, which upsets Steve. Married for a year, he starts cheating on wifey a month ago with loose-living bar girl Louise Campbell (Anne Helm).

The cop warns Louise by phone to stay away from Steve, and then tells Steve to end the affair. Ed follows Steve one night and discovers he is with his mistress again, and when Steve leaves Louise’s apartment he barges in and tries to offer her money to stop seeing him. When she refuses, the cop angrily tosses her against the wall and accidentally kills her. Then he gets to investigate the homicide with his partner Joe Marcus (Murray Hamilton).

When Joe suspects Steve is the killer, after learning that he could have been her boyfriend, Ed pins the murder on a wino (Broderick Crawford) who just confessed he killed his best friend while in a drunken stupor.

There’s a lot of angry looks and grim facial expressions, and a sad look at a model cop who cracks up because he’s afraid that he can’t protect his daughter any more from being hurt by a cheater she dearly loves. Trouble is the story is weak and the acting is poor, and in the end the pic has little to say about adultery, sluts, overprotective dads, cops who lose their moral compass and winos. In other words, you’re probably wasting your time watching this pic.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”