THE LINE UP (1958) [Feature]

USA (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

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