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Crisp, police procedural (bringing a then-current TV show to the screen) from Don Siegel (subsequently Clint Eastwood's favourite director). As he would later do in his remake of The Killers (1964) and Dirty Harry (1971), Siegel takes a special interest in the psychopathic tendencies of his characters. Eli Wallach (in his second film) plays the central baddie who is a contract worker for "The Man" who is using innocent tourists as mules to bring heroin into the USA. Once they disembark, their luggage is stolen and the stuff is extracted and given to The Man. Wallach and his partner/mentor, played by Robert Keith, arrive in San Francisco (where the film was shot on location) to retrieve the luggage/drugs from three passengers on a docking ship. However, things don't go too smoothly - because Wallach's character is a psychopath. Because the police have been tipped off, we see them closing in on the killers as well as what the killers are doing (in parallel). Siegel is far more interested in the killers and the police procedural scenes play like the rote TV episodes they're drawn from - they are kept purposefully brief (and thus taut). So, there's nothing particularly extraordinary here but solid crime show fare, with a few nods to past films noir (murder in a stream room, a person in a wheelchair gets offed, the same aquarium that Welles shot in The Lady from Shanghai is used). San Francisco does look great.
Eli Wallach leaves the unmemorable lawmen in the dust in the the most chilling role of his entire career.
Eli Wallace as the baddie
This early Don Siegel directed film (of Dirty Harry and Invasion of the Body Snatchers fame) sees Eli Wallach as a charming psychopath who smuggles in heroin by placing it on unsuspecting travelers. He and his equally sadistic partner must find these people and get the drugs, with the police on their tail. The police characters are boring, but the villains are ridiculously enjoyable and relish their despicable roles. Its a straight forward gritty crime thriller that pulls no punches, but also doesn't do much else in terms of twists or a satisfying ending.
a good B movie police noir
A viagem por vários locais de São Francisco será um dos aspectos mais interessantes de "The Lineup", um dos primeiros noirs de Don Siegel, que a seu favor conta também com um clímax bem esgalhado.
Finally caught up with Don Siegel's THE LINEUP as part of an Eli Wallach retro in LA. Another great example of the Don Siegel cool. This is a guy who can take the nastiest characters and make them sweet. The sweetest characters and make them nasty. THE LINEUP is slow and purposeful. And it just keeps going and you never no where. Like all Siegel, the film is the epitome of cool because it doesn't know it's cool and doesn't try.I just love Don Siegel!
Violent, exciting, and very intense in its climax, The Lineup shows its true guts through the smooth and puzzling dialogues and well-drafted script. A smuggling scheme gone awry, in which one psychopathic man and his sophisticated mentor try to retrieve a huge amount of heroine from casual travelers. Don Siegel once again shows his steady hand and proves to have a talent for very dramatic noir pieces.
Slick and brutal Don Siegel thriller centers on psychopathology of killers--Hard-assed, violent little flick!!
Much of it is a pretty generic police procedural, but the last half hour, with its fantastic use of San Francisco's Cliff House and dramatic car chase, ultimately saves it.