Thursday, November 19, 2009

1958 - THE LINEUP, Dragnet on another channel

The Lineup was CBS's answer to the popularity of Dragnet, basically a police procedural crime drama. Columbia hired Don Siegel to turn it into a movie.

Siegel was a guy who had worked his way up in Hollywood starting in the 2nd unit department at Warner Brothers. He was enough of a pro to know how to put a modest film like this together. He was also lucky enough to be able to film a lot of The Lineup on location in San Francisco. The film is like watching a guided tour of the town in the late 1950's.

The film's story has to do with the cops stopping a heroin smuggling ring using unsuspecting couriers. A parallel story has two hired killers tracking down the people with the heroin and killing them off if they get in the way.

There is an exciting car chase at the end of the film which is kind of ruined by too much rear projection. The chase ends with a ballsey stunt on an unfinished piece of freeway which is pretty intense.

Probably the highlight of the film is Eli Wallach's performance as the killer "Dancer." This guy is truly scary. He pretty much kills anyone who even remotely pisses him off. In a way he's almost a warm up act for the Scorpio Killer in Siegel's film Dirty Harry.

86 minutes.

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