The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

The Art of Cinema #47

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The Lineup
(Don Siegel; 1958)

5 comments :

swac said...

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.

Tom Sutpen said...

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.

Rob said...

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

Ivan G. said...

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.

swac said...

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.