Blake Edwards originally wanted William Friedkin to direct this spin-off of his successful TV series, Peter Gunn, but he ended up doing it himself—luckily, as it turned out, for this murder mystery set in Los Angeles gave Edwards the opportunity to create one of his most acidic essays on emotional superfluity in the urban world. Everyone seems to have a heart of Formica as private detective Craig Stevens investigates the murder of a gangster while trading one-liners with police lieutenant Ed Asner. Edwards’s LA is conceived entirely in harsh primary colors, a plastic wasteland relieved only by a cozy bar with the painfully ironic name of “Mother’s” (1967).