In the turn-of-the century Texas town of Cottownwood Springs, marshal Frank Patch is an old-style lawman in a town determined to become modern. When he kills drunken Luke Mills in ... See full summary »
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. Written by
The movie is actually a spin-off from a popular 1950's TV series. The Lineup (1954) ran on CBS from 1954 to 1960. It was a Dragnet (1951)-style "police procedural" drama, set in San Francisco, but filmed on Hollywood sound stages. Warner Anderson and Marshall Reed reprise their TV show roles in the movie, as Lt. Ben Guthrie and Inspector Fred Ascher. However, Tom Tully, who played Inspector Matt Grebb, Guthrie's partner on the TV show, was not available to make the movie. He was replaced by Emile Meyer as Inspector Al Quine. See more »
In the scene where the passengers are disembarking the ship, Staples gives Dancer the address of the couple as "9020 Jackson." Dancer then relays it to his driver, McLain, as "2090 Jackson." McLain then drives to the correct house on 2090 Jackson Street, which was then being used as the headquarters of the California Historical Society. See more »
I only saw this violent little thriller once, about 1977. Robert Keith and Eli Wallach are a pair of gangsters who have to pick up some narcotics that have been sneaked into the country. It is inside a doll. Keith, an old hand at criminal activity and violence, is the control man who keeps reassuring the volatile Wallach that if they get through the various delays and problems along the way, the mission will be accomplished and "It will all be over by" the hour when they leave town.
Of course nothing is easy, especially as Wallach's "Dancer" is such a sensitive, over-ready killing machine. Soon the number of unnecessary murders accumulate (a butler, a blackmailing hood). Also, the dangers of being a courier increase - the drugs are not all found, and Dancer decides to try to explain this to the wrong party. His typical reaction to the wrong party's reaction leads to the violence of the film's conclusion.
This was one of Don Siegel's first thrillers, and may be the leanest in terms of plotting. It is tightly filmed and remarkably effective, especially in the way the violence breeds more violence until it engulfs the last moments of the movie. It is not the squeamish, although not as bloody as other films, but it is for film noir fans.
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