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 features a scene in the old Steinhardt Aquarium in Golden Gate Park. The aquarium (also featured in The Lady from Shanghai (1947)) was built in 1923. It was torn down in 2003, and replaced with a new, modern aquarium. An outdoor scene in the park shows the old De Young Museum, which was torn down in 2008 and replaced with a new museum. See more »
Seaman Warner is pointed out to Dancer at the ship just before the noon siren sounds. The next scene shows Warner signing into the steam room at the Seaman's Club. After he is murdered, the police ask the steam room attendant when Warner signed in and are told 11:05. See more »
Well, it's unfortunate we have to meet under these awful circumstances, I know.
Insp. Al Quine:
We meet a lot of people under unfortunate circumstances, Mr. Dressler.
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THE LINEUP is a very well-wrought B movie from the latter days of film noir. By this point in noir history, the dark shadows and oppressive environs were being supplanted by more location shooting and a look that generally derived from television-type production. THE LINEUP, in fact, does have a TV series connection.
Director Don Siegel (INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, HELL IS FOR HEROES, THE KILLERS) seems always to display the basic mark of a good director: his film are never dull. THE LINEUP opens with a brief, exciting chase scene that grabs attention and sets up for the main plot. Siegel then paces the film nicely, slowly building to more excitement and interest.
Eli Wallach is an inspired choice for a villain. He conveys plenty of insecure vulnerability along with a cold toughness. Among several memorable moments is the scene where Wallach takes the trouble to show a little girl how to use a telescope, amid his own near-panic and dread, as he is about to confront 'The Man'. Undervalued Robert Keith is a bit shocking as a cynical, aging career criminal ("Women have no place in society, they don't appreciate the need for violence" he tells a terrified female victim). Mary La Roche is very fine as that kidnapped victim. And Vaughn Taylor, great stalwart of so much film and TV, is fearsome as 'The Man'.
Siegel takes full advantage of the beautiful San Francisco locations. This title can be added to the list of films that document a bygone era, by using locations that may no longer exist at all or as they are seen here.
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