Gunn is an American 1967 mystery film directed by Blake Edwards, and starring Craig Stevens, based on the 1958-1961 television series Peter Gunn. Stevens was the only regular cast member from the original series to appear in the film; the characters of Gunn's singing girlfriend Edie Hart, club owner "Mother", and police lieutenant Jacoby were all recast for the film. Reprising his role as a well-spoken though tipsy informant, J. Pat O'Malley guest stars as Tinker; in the Peter Gunn series' season 3 episode, "Death Is a Four Letter Word", he played the same role but was named Luther. The movie was intended to be the first in a projected series of Peter Gunn feature films, but no sequels followed.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Blake Edwards|
|Produced by||Owen Crump|
|Screenplay by||William Peter Blatty|
|Story by||Blake Edwards|
|Music by||The Gordian Knot|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|28 June 1967|
A gangster named Scarlotti once saved private detective Peter Gunn's life, but now Scarlotti's been killed, and Fusco intends to take over the town's crime syndicate. Gunn and Lt. Jacoby are convinced that Fusco himself must be behind it.
Gunn makes a visit to Mother's, the nightclub, and talks to Mother. Afterward, he has a romantic interlude with Edie but is interrupted to pay a visit to Daisy Jane, owner of The Ark floating brothel. She hires Gunn to find out who the killer is. When Gunn returns to his apartment, much to his consternation he finds Samantha "Sam" who tries to seduce him. Even worse, Edie and a hitman appear at the same time.
Gunn contacts his informants, and after more killings, he and Jacoby descend upon Fusco who seems obviously guilty. Fusco denies it in front of the two, and in a later beating of Gunn, he denies it again, giving a deadline to Gunn -- to solve the murder or end up dead himself.
- Craig Stevens as Peter Gunn
- Laura Devon as Edie Hart, lounge singer and Pete's girlfriend
- Edward Asner as Lieutenant Charles Jacoby, a police detective and friend of Gunn
- Albert Paulsen as Fusco, underworld kingpin
- Helen Traubel as Mother, owner of the nightclub, Mother's
- Regis Toomey as the Bishop, an informant
- J. Pat O'Malley as Tinker, an informant
- Sherry Jackson as Samantha
- Marion Marshall as Daisy Jane
William Friedkin recalled that he met Blake Edwards in September 1966. Edwards told him he was considering a return of the Peter Gunn television show but would begin by making a Peter Gunn feature film. Edwards told Friedkin that Charles Bludhorn, the new head of Paramount thought Lola Albright "too old" to resume her former role and instead wanted an Austrian actress who Edwards rejected. Edwards wanted Friedkin to direct the film but Friedkin thought William Peter Blatty's script was awful, explaining the script was like some of the old television episodes cobbled together rather than something new and exciting. Edwards directed the film himself. Blatty was impressed by Friedkin's honesty and asked him to direct The Exorcist (1973). Edwards' film was originally titled—but then only advertised as—Gunn...Number One!; no sequels followed.
As for the above comment that the script was like some of the old television episodes cobbled together, the film Gunn borrows heavily from the Peter Gunn series' pilot, the season 1 episode 1, "The Kill" (mobster's death, burial, romantic interlude, meeting at racquetball court, bombing at Mother's), and lifts sequences from three other episodes (girl in Gunn's apartment - "The Briefcase" - season 2, episode 12; chase through the boatyard - "Hollywood Calling" - season 2, episode 22; talking to an informant - "Death Is a Four Letter Word" - season 3, episode 34).
Sherry Jackson tells how she was hired for the movie, "A friend took me to lunch in the noisy Paramount commissary while I was wearing the costume [from the Star Trek episode, "What Little Girls Are Made Of"]. I’m terribly near-sighted and when we walked in, it got quieter and quieter, so I asked what was happening. Turns out, they were all looking at me. All the seats were full, so we got a table in the director’s room where Blake Edwards happened to be sitting. My friend told me he began pointing to me and giving hand signals to Craig Stevens in another part of the room and yelling to him ‘Sam! Sam!’ That turned out to be a character in Edwards’ next film, ‘Gunn,’ and I was offered the part.”
She continues, "But Paramount knew it was not going to be a big hit, so they wanted to use me to promote it.”
Although the complete Peter Gunn television series is available on VHS and DVD, the film version of Gunn has never been issued on home video in any format, though pirate DVDs of the movie are available, copied from the pan-and-scan Netflix version that has its credits in French. The widescreen version is not available.