Fed up with the inhumane prison living conditions, a general prison riot breaks out, leading to hostage-taking, a stand-off with the guards and eventual negotiations with the prison administration officials.
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
Several locations given in the film are indeed the actual locations used for those scenes in San Francisco. This is unusual, since most addresses given by characters in films are changed to fictitious ones. See more »
When Dancer returns to the car after having the "mules" pointed out to him, he tells the wheel man to drive to "2090" Jackson, the Mark Hopkins and the Seaman's Club "in that order". Instead, the film shows the group driving to the Seaman's Club first, then 9020 Jackson and finally the Mark Hopkins. See more »
[Surveilling a man at a meet]
How do we know thats him?
He's wearing horned rim glasses ain't he? He's wearing a trench coat ain't he, with the collar turned down? No, it's got to be him, because who wears a trench coat with a collar turned down?
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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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