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THE LINE UP

USA, 1958 (MIFF 1998, Kiss Me Deadly)

Director: Don Siegel

"Psycho-killers Julian and Dancer (Keith and Wallach), are hired to recover a heroin haul. Among their professional touches is noting down their victim's last words ("Why be greedy?"). But they can be unprofessional too - like wanting to know more about The Man who hired them. From this premise of assassins rising above their station, Siegel was later to remake The Killers. But this B&W B-version is the more brutal, sadistic and threatening, with its passionless killers stalking San Francisco long before existentialism was a la mode." - Time Out Film Guide

The Line Up is vintage Don Siegel action. At the heart of the plot is an innocent girl who has powdered her face with heroin. The hair-raising chase at the film's tail-end whips up a storm of frenetic activity and mood-tempered style - as only a true noir film could deliver.

"As Wallach proceeds through my script, blowing people away in successive killings, each time he would return to the waiting line, the eager agent, Keith, would ask him the inevitable question: "Well, what were their last words?" - Stirling Silliphant

"Although his output consisted mainly of modestly budgeted B-pictures, Siegel periodically transcended the genre... In the late 50s he was discovered by the young critics (and future directors) of the Cahiers du Cinéma - among them Godard, Truffaut and Rohmer - who crowned him a gifted auteur with a consistent style and point of view, much to his own surprise." - Ephraim Katz

See also...

PRIVATE HELL 36

... ... One of Don Siegel's best early efforts along with his other "numbered" films of the same year Riot in Cell Block 11 this taut noir shares with Riot the building ineluctable logic of an out of ... More »

KISS ME DEADLY

A night-time encounter with Cloris Leachman, clad only in a raincoat, leads Mike Hammer on a legality-be-damned search for a mysterious suitcase containing 'the Great What's-lt' in this stunning ... More »

SCANDAL SHEET

Hard-nosed editor Crawford takes over an ailing newspaper and uses a double murder to boost his tabloid's circulation. He then discovers that his hero worshipping cub reporter-protege (Derek) has ... More »

PUSHOVER

"Money isn't dirty, just people." ... A low-rent Double Indemnity; cool blonde moll Kim Novak (in her first major screen role at Columbia) stirs up a sexual heat similar to that of Barbara Stanwyck ... More »

FIVE AGAINST THE HOUSE

Five college students - Madison, Novak, Keith, Moore and Mathews - team up and joke about a robbery of Harold's Club in Reno. It starts off as an intellectual prank, but soon ends up the real thing ... More »

THE GODDESS

Paddy Chayefsky's reputation has been built on the loving and detailed exploration of small-scale objects, the discovery of the significance of the commonplace. In The Goddess, he is working on an ... More »

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