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The Lineup (1958)

4.8 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Based on a popular TV series, the police need to stop a psychopathic gangster who is obtaining heroin transported by unwitting tourists.

When sold by Amazon.com, this product will be manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media. Amazon.com's standard return policy will apply.


Product Details

  • Actors: Eli Wallach, Robert Keith, Richard Jaeckel, Mary Laroche, William Leslie
  • Directors: Don Siegel
  • Producers: Jamie Del Valle
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: SPE
  • DVD Release Date: March 5, 2013
  • Run Time: 86 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00BBGZA5C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,101 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By mirasreviews HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 7, 2015
Format: DVD
"The Lineup" is a mildly noir police procedural and gangster flick based on the television series of the same name that aired on CBS 1954-1960. Director Don Siegel found the robbers considerably more interesting than the cops, however, and commissioned Stirling Silliphant to write a movie that emphasized the edgy, violent drugrunners and hit men. It begins at the San Francisco docks, when a porter hastily tosses someone's suitcase into a taxi, which speeds off, hitting a truck, a police officer, and, finally, killing the driver. Police Inspectors Ben Guthrie (Warner Anderson) and Al Quine's (Emile Meyer) investigation of the dead man and the suitcase leads them to a drug smuggling operation that uses innocent tourists to bring heroin into the United States.

Meanwhile, Dancer (Eli Wallach) and his partner Julian (Robert Keith) have arrived in town to retrieve more drugs from unsuspecting tourists. Their job is to relieve recent travelers of some objects they bought in Asia that contain heroin: a sailor, a well-to-do couple, and a woman and her young daughter. Predictably, things don't go as smoothly as the men would have liked. Julian describes Dancer as "a wonderful, pure pathological study, a psychopath with no inhibitions." Those are traits he likes to inflict on their new driver Sandy McLain (Richard Jaeckel) and which have a tendency to heighten a crisis. Julian's more reserved demeanor hides a man who has never fired a gun but with a passion for recording the last words of dying, murdered men.

In some sense, "The Lineup" is a post-War police procedural whose goal was to instill confidence and trust in governmental authorities. It also has elements of a public service announcement.
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I just saw this movie on tv and had to get it for a gift for my brother. I loved the cars and the car chases in it. It's all filmed in San Francisco, and I am familiar with that place, and first went there in the fifties as a little girl, to the places that are featured in the movie, so it was a kick to see them filmed from that same time. It's a old movie and in black and white, which I not only do not mind but find only adds to the nostalgia of an old movie of this type. The film quality in it is excellent, and only those who appreciate black and white and what can be accomplished with it will know what I am talking about. So if you are a fan of old movies of this era, you will enjoy this one. Some of the cars are the same ones my dad owned, so again, nostalgia for me. Great cars, I would not mind owning again.
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I saw the beginning of this movie recently on TCM, but could not see the rest of it then, so I bought the DVD. This is superb with its characterizations of the criminals, and the locales, some now gone, themselves make this worth watching along with the automobiles. Vaughn Taylor in his short appearance in this film, perhaps the shortest apperance in his career, becomes evil incarnate in a wheelchair. The closeups of his face are worth the price alone. Eli Wallach would be memorable for his facial expressions alone executed as well here as are his "lewd" expressions in Baby Doll. His slight grins are somewhat barracuda like, but then he almost has our sympathy when he grovels before the "Man," from whom he tries to cover his fear with mildness. It is curious that Wikipedia entries on Vaughn and on Richard Jaeckel [sp-?], the "wheel man," do not mention their roles in The Lineup. In addition, there is Robert Keith, a killer who often takes an avuncular attitude and seems to remember someone's final word that would make a good epitaph. As a bonus, someone who likes symbol hunts and subtexts may be able to find some here.
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If you grew up in San Francisco in the 50's, you will love this movie. I am so glad I actually bought it, and did not just rent it. I have seen many movies made here, but this one has the best and most detailed landscape shots I have ever seen. A younger San Franciscan might like this as well to see what the city used to look like. Of course, the dialogue and story is dated, but if you can just let that go, you will like this movie.
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"The Lineup", a movie spun from a popular mid-century tv show of the same name, takes off from the first scene, when a stolen briefcase is handed off to a waiting taxi, who then takes off and in his hurry, rams a tractor truck pulling out of a nearby pier---pulling out of that crash, the cabbie then hits a policeman, who manages to get off one successful shot, and the dead cabbie crashes into a bit of waterfront construction----the police then discover the man was carrying drugs, and as the investigation widens, that innocent tourists and businessmen returning from the far east are being used as unsuspecting mules.

The filming was not great---I had to stop the film to identify exactly where they were----that Pier 41 is long gone; and recognizable buildings in the background are only hazily captured. Still, once they get away from the Wharf, the cinematography improves. The cops are played by a couple of middle aged rumpled looking actors, and no one in the film has the glossy flossy beauty everyone has to have today. The story is interesting and plausible, with the added feature that, for people who've been to San Francisco, one gets some great views of a long vanished landscape, from the interior of Sutro Baths to the double decked Embarcadero Freeway, and the YMCA. And there's a seemingly obligatory chase scene----this one being more ridiculous than others, hopping back and forth from the Golden Gate Bridge to the Bay Bridge, for no good reason, but hey!

It's not quite like the cop films we've come to expect, that began with "Bullitt" and moved on to "Starsky and Hutch" and "Dirty Harry". But that's a bit refreshing, especially in an age where the genre has everything from Brothers Grimm characters haunting Seattle and Ichabod Crane back from the dead to fight evil in modern day Sleepy Hollow. If you like noir, you may have already seen this, if you haven't, you should.
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