The Lineup (1958) is one of Don Siegel‘s crime flicks, and the first third of it shows us nearly no one but the good guys as they investigate the killing of a fellow cop. Then it is predominantly the criminals who appear in this riveting story revolving around postwar America’s increasing attraction to illegal narcotics.
While watching the film, I couldn’t help thinking of the harrowing murders in Orlando, Florida a few days ago. Stirling Silliphant’s script, you see, carries the message that if psychopaths (here played by Eli Wallach) want and are inclined to kill, they WILL kill, even if the money from heroin sales is actually what they’re after.
Wallach is rattlingly credible, with Robert Keith (the gangster Julian) and Vaughn Taylor (“The Man”) also impressively good. Siegel does all he can with the San Francisco setting, producing a wonderful urban starkness. The Lineup is further proof that the Fifties were a great decade for him.