Jack Webb appeared in the iconic classic Sunset Boulevard in 1950, playing a character called ‘Artie’. In the same year Jack played a very different character,’Augie’ in one of my favorite films,Dark City. In Dark City,Jack is part of a trio which includes Charlton Heston as ‘Danny’ and Ed Begley as ‘Barney’. They run an illegal gambling den and take advantage of an out-of-towner Arthur Winant (Don DeFore), and fleece him of a $5,000 cheque which Winant is carrying on behalf of his employer.
Danny has been dealing the cards and realises Augie has been cheating. He says, “What’s the matter,Augie . Couldn’t you play it on the level?” Augie smiles, “What’s your beef? We got his dough,didn’t we?” Wynant commits suicide and is found in his hotel room by his older brother. Augie’s reaction is, “Yellow jerk. Knocking himself off.” Wynant’s brother sets out to take his revenge and first kills Barney. Augie and Danny are called in by the police (Dean Jagger), and we begin to see a change in the usually arrogant Augie. Barney’s murder has shaken him and he looks to Danny for support, but Danny tells him he hates his guts.He says,”You know what,Augie.You’re yellow. I never saw you pick on anybody that wasn’t old and sick.” The police captain spells it out to Danny and Augie about the dead man’s brother – “He’s a homicidal case with one up and two to go.” And they don’t know what the man looks like. Later, Danny finds Augie waiting for him in his hotel room. Now Augie is very nervous and says, “We’re in this together, Danny.” Danny and Augie try to find the mysterious Sidney Winant, but eventually the murderous brother catches up with Augie who ends up dead. Nobody will miss Augie. He is a thoroughly nasty piece of work,and Jack is very convincing! Also in the cast is Harry Morgan who works for Heston and co. but tells them what he thinks of them. Webb’s character is constantly picking on him because he’s an easy target. I’ve concentrated on Jack’s part in the movie. It’s a good role for him and he plays it so well. Dragnet started a year later and Jack’s career took a different direction. Check out the Jack Webb Blogathon at http://thehannibal8.wordpress.com