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Author Topic: The Lineup (1958)  (Read 1295 times)
cigar joe
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« on: September 30, 2011, 06:17:06 PM »

Director: Don Siegel with  Eli Wallach, Robert Keith, Richard Jaeckel, Warner Anderson,  Mary LaRoche, William Leslie, Emile Meyer, Marshall Reed, Raymond Bailey, and Vaughn Taylor. This film is actually based on a police procedural TV program "The Lineup" and the first 20 minutes reflect that, appropriating a lot of the conventions that the TV program used.



This is a great crime film about psychopathic mob hit-men on the loose in San Francisco, all the action takes place in one day as they travel around collecting fragments of a shipment of heroin that arrived aboard a passenger ship from the orient.  Since it takes place in a single day its not very dark (save for the psyches of the characters of Wallach and Kieth) or stylistically Noir,  but can boast some fantastic outdoor "neorealism" using San Francisco landmarks as touchstones, and it caps everything off with one of the great chase scenes in cinema since 1949's "The Big Steal". It may also be not very noir-ish because again its trying to reflect the TV Program and TV lighting in general.

Below is a screen cap of the moment when everything unravels for Wallach & Kieth much like the doll the Walllach is ripping apart.



Wallach plays a memorable nut case and also quite refreshing is the diversity of the rest of the various unique characters portrayed rather than today's affectation for metro-sexual pretty boy same old same old blandness. Anyway you can enjoy this film twice, first as the theatrical release and second with the hilarious and informative running commentary by Eddie Muller and James Ellroy.

Viewed the Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classic Vol 1 a easy 9/10 one point dropped for not being very noir-ish.

« Last Edit: October 01, 2011, 07:38:11 AM by cigar joe » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2011, 02:54:44 AM »

Yeah, fine film. Saw it in the late 70s on TV and tried to chase it down from the 80s until 2004 when it finally was screened on German pay-tv. That scene on the highways hunted me when I was a little kid. Quite unusual.

Eli was a bit puzzled by that film. It's fun to read his book. The film was much too violent and uncompromising for his taste (he didn't like it). Considering that, it is a small miracle Leone got out that performance out of him. Somehow I always felt Wallach would never have delivered such a colorful and wild performance in an American production. Bless them all.

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« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2011, 12:25:40 PM »

Eli was a bit puzzled by that film. It's fun to read his book. The film was much too violent and uncompromising for his taste (he didn't like it).

I also recommend his book. IIRC he said he didn't act on screen for something like four years because of this movie. I personally really dig the movie and the location work alone is reason to track down a copy, which I think received a dvd release a little while back.

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« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2013, 07:16:54 AM »

8/10


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« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2013, 07:48:53 AM »

Good film with some unusual stuff for the 50s. One of Siegel's best. 8/10

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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2015, 10:47:37 PM »

Remarkable chase scene with all those back-projections? Please...And the  psycho killer who goes around with his nanny (gay subtext, of course)? And the H hidden in the japanese doll to be found by the girl? I would give it 6/10 were it not for the only remarkable scene between Vaughn Taylor (or, as somebody here would write: VAUGHN TAYLOR) and Tuco: extraordinary though illogical: a paraplegic gives himself away to a psycho killer And a paraplegic so powerful to have a hit man liquidated in a few minutes must go himself to pick up the H? 7/10

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