The Lineup (1958)

The Lineup (1958)
  • 2517
  • Approved
  • Genre: Crime
  • Release year: 1958 ()
  • Running time: 86 min
  • Original Title: The Lineup
  • Voted: 2517

In San Francisco, two police inspectors are on the case when a rogue taxi driver, with the help of a rogue porter, manages to steal the suitcase of an antiques collector before running down a cop, whose dying gesture is to shoot the cabbie dead. The inspectors discover that a statuette in the suitcase contains heroin. Meanwhile, a psychopathic gangster, his malignant mentor and their dipsomaniac driver have the job of picking up the other heroin shipments, hidden in the luggage of unsuspecting travelers. All goes well until they attempt to retrieve the heroin stuffed in a Japanese doll. A little girl and her lovely young mother have the doll, but when the crooks take possession of it, they find that the heroin has mysteriously vanished.

1Eli WallachDancer
2Robert KeithJulian
3Richard JaeckelSandy McLain
4Mary LaRocheDorothy Bradshaw
5William LeslieLarry Warner
  • Terrific crime drama with great location work by 7

    Lots of films have been shot in San Francisco, but few present as many views of the City By the Bay as this one. Here's what we see: Pier 41 and the Embarcadero, Coit Tower, The Ferry Building, The Cliff House, Sutro's Baths (after the closure of the swimming baths in 1954, but during the heyday of the skating rink that took one of the bath's place until 1966--this is probably the only motion picture featuring this rare sight), lots of neighbourhoods, and--to top it all off--a car chase on the then under construction Embarcadero Freeway (since torn down due to earthquake hazard)! Add in a truly exciting and relatively believable story of drug smuggling--certainly cutting edge stuff in 1958--and you have a great little film. Of particular note is Robert Keith (the sheriff in 1954's The Wild One) as one of the twisted criminals. Whenever co-villain Eli Wallach kills someone, Keith writes down the victim's 'final words' in his little black book. And in the some things never change department, Oakland's Lake Merritt is cited as the location of a taxi theft by one of the film's numerous junkies.

  • A Gem in the Rough... by 8

    I was relaxing in my easy chair when I saw this film pop up on one of the mystery cable channels. I was very surprised and pleased at what I saw. First of all, the comments made about this film having great views of San Francisco are 100% true. I love "noir" films that set a city mood, and this was probably the best film that ever set a "San Francisco mood" with the possible exception of Dirty Harry. A friend of mine lived near the Cliff House and seeing Seal Rock Road and the Sutro Museum (used to be the Sutro Baths) was just incredible. Its just a hole in the ground now. Pier 39, now an over-sized shopping mall, was great to see as well when it was an actual shipping pier. And the movie itself was quite good. Eli Wallach played a sadistic, yet somewhat complex criminal who had no morals and yet showed flashes of compassion. Brian Keith's Father Robert played his mentor with excellence and style. This film was no high budget spectacular but more then made up for it with Siegel's excellent direction and great location scenes. I immediately went online to IMDb to try and buy the VHS or DVD but imagine my surprise when I saw it wasn't available! CMON, LETS SEE THIS ONE COME ONTO DVD!!!!

  • Slick and brutal Don Siegel thriller centers on psychopathology of killers by 7

    Heroin from Asia is flooding into San Francisco, carried in souvenirs and curios packed by unwitting mules. When the mules arrive home to kick back after their peregrinations around the Pacific Rim, they are paid an unexpected and usually unpleasant visit by a team of psycho-killers named Dancer and Julian (Eli Wallach and Robert Keith, respectively), who collect the precious narcotic. Wallach is forever on the edge of detonation, so it takes the patient ministrations of Keith to soothe him down and keep him on task; their relationship suggests that of an old queen dealing with rough trade. (Their young driver, Richard Jaeckel -- best remembered as the young Turk in Come Back, Little Sheba -- adds to the homoerotic tone, as does a violent scene in a steambath). Don Siegel goads the action along and knows what he's doing every step of the way. The Lineup marks a no-man's-land between classic film noir, which had pretty much ground to a halt, and the flatter, faster and more sensational thrillers that the early 1960s would bring; in its more modest way, it foreshadows later movies like The Detective, Bullitt and The French Connection.

  • Worth watching by 8

    Good crime drama with interesting settings and some good action scenes.The movie really showcases San Francisco. Sutro Baths ( now sadly lost in a fire) is the setting for a some excellent scenes. You will also see the Opera House, the Ferry Building, some freeways being built, and other interesting sights. If you want to see how San Francisco looked in 1958 and see some pretty good action and some pretty mean bad guys you will enjoy this one.

  • Lots To Like In This Late-'50s Noir by 8

    There were a number of things to like in this movie such as the camera-work, the strange characters and some unique dialog.

    To me, the best of the lines were said by the "old" crook, "Julian," played by Robert Keith. To give you idea, "Julian" was writing a book on people's last words after his partner "Dancer" ( Eli Walllach) killed them!! Keith was really interesting to listen to, and did a great job on this role. Actually, Wallach was great, too, playing a clean-shaven whacked-out villain in this story. (Eli would grow a beard and become famous two years after this movie, playing the Mexican villain in "The Magnificent Seven.")

    On the other side of the ledger, Warner Anderson (Lt. Ben Guthrie") is perfect for the ultra-straight-laced-looking cop. His partner, "Inspector Al Quine," was played by Emile Meyer. He should be a familiar face to you older folks as Meyer usually played a sadistic bad guy on his numerous TV roles and had a face you couldn't forget! It was odd seeing him as a low-key cop instead of some sadist.

    Richard Jaekel as the driver of the two criminals also was different, and had good lines, too, I I definitely enjoyed watching this cast.

    I enjoyed the story. I wish more late 1950s film noir movies were made because they are a little different. The only surprise I had was that I expected a faster-paced film knowing it was a Don Siegel movie. But, it was still the '50s and not the days yet of "Dirty Harry" so the films will be slower, I suppose, even with an "action" director like Siegel. The story started off with a bang but then started slowing down, almost to standstill after 30-40 minutes but began picking up when Wallach entered the scene, and then got more intense as it went on. The ending is really wild with a couple of shocking scenes.

1Hal Mohrcinematographer
2Don Siegeldirector
3Al Clarkeditor
4Jaime Del Valleproducer
5Stirling Silliphantwriter