Containing Multitudes Since 2004
I watched it this week...terrific film, great S.F. locations, brilliant pair of killers (including Eli Wallach), and breathless direction by Don Siegel. Maltin calls this something like "an undistinguished thriller"--I forget his exact words--which makes me wonder if whoever wrote the blurb for his book even saw the darn thing.
Trying to divine the pathology behind the capsules in Maltin's book is a fool's pasttime and I gave it up long long ago. "The Lineup" is prime-rib American filmmaking, you ask me. It seems like Siegel could do no wrong in the late 50s.
The best thing about this one for me, was the collective depravity of the bad guys, almost surreal in its totality. Wallach's performance reminded me of the Tolly Devlin character played by Cliff Robertson in Fuller's "Underworld U.S.A." - a charming single-minded sociopath who just can't stop on his way to ultimate destruction. I also like to hear Emil Meyer's line readings - like he's taking a big bite outta re-write no. 6, and spitting it back out right at your face. BCNU
I've never had the opportunity to see this film, but it's on my must-watch list if only because I consider the radio series (which ran from 1950-53 and included scripting by a young Blake Edwards) to be one of the best that appeared in the soon-to-be gone Golden Age of Radio. Some people dismiss it as a Dragnet wannabe, but I think there's a lot more to it than meets the ear.
I'd heard it was based on an earlier show, which is probably why Maltin (or more likely, one of his drones) dismisses the film out of hand--it gets the same rating as Laserblast--but it's nothing like anything that would have aired on television at the time. I still wonder how a pair of not-so-subtly gay killers like in this film (or The Big Combo) managed to make it past the production code.And if you want to see it Ivan...well, we can talk.
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