The Lineup (1958) – Psychos & Innocent Drug Trafficking Noir

The Lineup (1958) - poster cover image dvd cinema vhs

Director Don Siegel is a legend who dropped incredible movies on us from all angles. With so many starring that man Clint Eastwood it’s no wonder they feature high on my teenage watch list.  From Coogan’s Bluff to the iconic Dirty Harry. Then there’s The Beguiled to the delightful Two Mules for Sister Sara and the awesome Charlie Varrick (what no Clint?) to name a few.

But apart from Invasion Of The Body Snatchers in 1956 I haven’t seen any of Don Siegel’s 40’s or 50’s output. Please fire in the recommendations to put me on the right path because if The Lineup from 1958 is anything to go by for more quality from this amazing talent then I need to see them.

The Lineup (1958) - Eli Wallach Dancer Robert Keith Julian hit men

A shadow kingpin gangster uses innocent overseas travelers to unknowingly transport heroin into country. Hiring two psychopathic killers to pick up the merchandise and drop the drugs at a busy public arena.

Right from the get-go the carnage begins to cover the streets as two seasoned cops take up the case to find out what the hell is going on and finding themselves always one step behind the bad guys.

The Lineup (1958) - cops Lieutenant Ben Guthrie Inspector Al Quine

The film is a real rollercoaster ride throughout the streets of San Francisco and features excellent action scenes which include an edge of your seat car chase which is handled with much pace and gusto.

Adding to the suspense is some truly wonderful banter between our two very different heroes and baddies. With top marks going to Dancer played by (Eli Wallach) who was like the father to Joe Pesci‘s Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas, intelligent, unhinged and ready to blow at any given moment.

The Lineup (1958) - bellboys on line up suspects police

He’s not alone in the psycho stakes, as Dancer is being coached by an elderly hitman guru called Julian (Robert Keith) a man who loves nothing more than to keep a note in his diary of the last dying words of his victims. They make a twisted dark dastardly duo.

The Lineup (1958) - the cop car chase is on

The two cops on the hunt are Lieutenant Ben Guthrie (Warner Anderson) and Inspector Al Quine (Emile Meyer). Seasoned professionals with a lot of respect for each other and drop some wonderful dialogue.

Lt. Ben Guthrie – “Jenkins certainly had a great spot here for a Halloween party.”
Insp. Al Quine – “Yeah, no self-respectin’ witch would bring a broom into this trap.”

The Lineup (1958) - Eli Wallach Dancer Robert Keith Julian hit men gangsters

Throw in a cocky wheels man Sandy McLain (Richard Jaeckel), a few crazy car chases, tense drama and with a frenzied end finale you get yourself a top movie which hits all the right notes.

So if like me and you hadn’t seen this spectacular piece of action film noir then jump the line-up and get to the front of the queue (Sorry that’s well cheesy). If you can recommend some Don Siegel films from the 40’s 50’s that would be most appreciated.  Cheers, Mikey Wolfman.

The Lineup (1958) - intro beginning title scene

5 thoughts on “The Lineup (1958) – Psychos & Innocent Drug Trafficking Noir

  1. Solid flick and nice cast, Wallach and Jaeckel always favorites of mine. OK here’s a few Siegel films to check out starting with Bronson in Telefon. lol. Hell Is For Heroes a great one. Duke’s swan song The Shootist which is undoubtedly the greatest final role for a cinema icon period!
    Best Elvis movie, Flaming Star. The Killers with Lee Marvin, The Verdict from 1946 with Peter Lorre! Riot in Cell Block 11….. you asked… plenty more where these came from as well. I checked my library. I have 28 Siegel flicks here on the shelf. Always a fave.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If anyone was gonna come to the rescue than it had to be Mikestakeonthemovies. Dude you smashed it out the park. Thank you.
      Wow 28 Siegel’s on the shelve.
      “Riot In Cell Block 11” sounds awesome (4000 caged humans, what could possibly go wrong). How can I not get “The Shootist” on the soon watch list with that quote from you, very much looking forward to that. Oh my I hadn’t heard of “Hell Is For Heroes” and it’s got Steve Mcqueen. Love a war movie, this sounds essential. “The Verdict” sounds great too especially as I’m hitting some film noir movies I’ve never seen.
      I’m sure I’ve seen Telefon many years back but honestly can’t remember it so any excuse to sir Don Bronson again. I can’t wait to get stuck into this lot.
      Mike I really appreciate all the tips and comments. Thanks buddy 🙂


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