7.4/10
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38 user 25 critic

The Lineup (1958)

In San Francisco, a psychopathic gangster and his mentor retrieve heroin packages carried by unsuspecting travelers.

Director:

Don Siegel
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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Eli Wallach ... Dancer
Robert Keith ... Julian
Richard Jaeckel ... Sandy McLain
Mary LaRoche ... Dorothy Bradshaw
William Leslie ... Larry Warner
Emile Meyer ... Insp. Al Quine
Marshall Reed ... Insp. Fred Asher
Raymond Bailey ... Philip Dressler
Vaughn Taylor ... The Man
Cheryl Callaway Cheryl Callaway ... Cindy Bradshaw
Robert Bailey ... Staples
Warner Anderson ... Lt. Ben Guthrie
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Storyline

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 J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The big, new lineup of thrills comes to the BIG movie theatre screen. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Film-Noir

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 June 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Contrabando See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Pajemer Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Dancer meets Staples on the dock, a large ship is seen disembarking. It is the S.S. Hunter Victory, a World War II-era merchant ship, which was used as a cargo vessel when filming took place in 1958. This was one of 150 Victory Ships built and named for American colleges and universities. She was launched on May 12, 1945 by Pemanente Metals Corp. in Richmond, California. The ship was named for Hunter College in New York. Only 3 Victory Ships remain, preserved as maritime museums in Tampa, Florida, Los Angeles and Richmond, California. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Julian: When you live outside the law, you have to eliminate dishonesty.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Murder of a Cat (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Polly Wolly Doodle
(uncredited)
Song first published Harvard student songbook in 1880.
Heard on calliope in museum
See more »

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User Reviews

Beats Dragnet
23 December 2007 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

Tightly scripted, excitingly staged, and brilliantly acted by Eli Wallach, this is a real sleeper. It could have been just another slice of thick-ear on the order of the Dragnet movie (1954). But thanks to writer Stirling Silliphant, director Don Siegel, and actor Wallach, The Lineup stands as one of the best crime films of the decade.

Someone in production made a key decision to shoot the film entirely on location in San Francisco, and rarely have locations been used more imaginatively then here, from dockside to Nob Hill to the streets and freeways, plus lively entertainment spots. The producers of 1968's Bullit must have viewed this little back-and-whiter several times over, especially the car chase.

Colorless detectives Warner Anderson and Emile Meyer (standing in for Tom Tully of the TV series of the same name) are chasing down psychopathic hit-man Wallach and mentor Robert Keith, who in turn are chasing down bags of smuggled narcotics. Dancer (Wallach) is simply chilling. You never know when that dead-pan stare will turn homicidal, even with little kids. Good thing his sidekick, the literary-inclined Julian (Keith), is there as a restraining force, otherwise the city might be seriously de-populated.

Cult director Siegel keeps things moving without let-up, and even the forces of law and order are kept from stalling the action. My favorite scene is where Dancer goes slowly bonkers at the uncooperative Japanese doll. Watch his restrained courtship manners with the lonely mother (Mary La Roche) come unraveled as he reverts to psychopathic form, while mother and daughter huddle in mounting panic at the man they so trustingly brought home. It's a riveting scene in a film filled with them.

The Line Up is another of those unheralded, minor gems that has stood the test of time, unlike so many of the big-budget cadavers of that year or any year.


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