Nothing but high praises for THE LINEUP. Directed by Don Siegel and scripted by Stirling Silliphant. This is an exciting, non-stop action movie that grabs the viewer by the throat and never lets go. The film starts fast and maintains that pace throughout. High praise also for Eli Wallach who is fantastic in his role as Dancer, the hitman. He and his associate, Julian (Robert Keith) travel to San Francisco where regardless of the cost, will confiscate packages of heroin from unsuspecting marks who have inadvertently had the heroin placed among their personal items. Dancer is a soft spoken, laconic sociopath, and Wallach’s performance elevates what might have been a typical crime drama into an excellent movie. Dancer does not sing while going about his business, quote bible verses, swagger to a song on the radio or maniacally giggle. Dancer makes Richard Widmark’s Tommy Udo(Kiss of Death) look like a choir boy.
His associate is Robert Keith. Keith keeps his hands clean from the dirty work. He tries to come across a fatherly, mentor to Dancer. Julian is no prize and while Dancer is dangerous, Julian is loathsome. He has Dancer tell him the last words of his victims then jots them down in his pad for a book he intends to write. Richard Jaeckel is a brash, bold, surfer type Californian who is quickly taken down a few notches by Dancer and Julian. The LEOs are little more than, ‘the facts Ma’m, just the facts.” Emile Meyer, who we remember as the Priest trying to console Timothy Carey in, The Paths of Glory, and as the rancher who who hires Jack Palance to take out Alan Ladd in Shane, is one of the two lead cops whose performances is to give a respite to the action.
Siegel gives the audience a wonderful tour of San Francisco as we follow Dancer and Julian from one mark to another. Julian tells Dancer it’s a piece of cake and they should be done by 4:30. But there are complications of course. Dancer takes a mom and her daughter hostage, and the question becomes not if he will kill them, but when will he kill them and what Julian write down in his notebook when all is done?
Siegel uses San Francisco locations as effectively as he would in Dirty Harry. No location is used for sight seeing or a Chamber of Commerce advertisment. As we travel around the city each stop, each change of scenery is used to develop the suspense and danger. As good as Wallach is, he is almost upstaged by a great car chase at the end of the film. It takes place on the then, unfinished Embarcadero Highway. The chase pushes the edge of the envelope and takes place a mere feet from a 50 foot straight drop to the ground.
It’s a mystery why Don Siegel does not get the amount of respect and credit he deserves. Films ilms like The Verdict, The Big Steal, Riot in Cell Block 11. Invasion of The Body Snatchers, Private Hell 36, Madigan, Dirty Harry, Charley Varrick, The Beguiled,Escape From Alcatraz, and his influence on Sam Peckinpah and Clint Eastwood, among others, should be enough mark him as one of this country's top directors.
I give THE LINEUP 5 out of 5 stars which means check it out ASAP.
Dead Reckoning is Sam Spade goes to war. No cliché is left unsaid, no plot gimmick or scene trope unused in this film, and any resemblance to Sam Spade, Phillip Marlowe or the Maltese Falcon is purely intentional.
DR begs us to suspend our disbelief from beginning to end. Bogie plays Capt. Rip Murdock. He accompanies his buddy, Sgt.John Drake played by William Prince to Washington where Drake will be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. They have not been told about this, and isn't it just like the War Department to keep these great public relation ceremonies a secret? Drake goes apoplectic when he finds out and hops off the train only to board another. Bogie investigates. He heads to Drake's home in Gulf City where we've been told is a large city on the Gulf. Perhaps it's where residents of Gotham City and Metropolis vacation? Anyway. Drake is murdered, and Marlowe, oops, Murdock wants to find out why.
Five script writers had a hand in this film and it shows. Each one has a go at what they believe to be sufficiently effective tough guy/movie dialogue. Spade, oops, Murdock, can't utter a sentence without it being a wise crack or some attempt at cynical humor. The writers must have had their own drinking game predicated on the number of times 'sweetheart' was used. The perfunctory tough guy is played by Marvin Miller (Mike Mazurki must have been busy). Kudos however for George Chandler as Louis Ord the bartender who pays the ultimate sacrifice for helping Murdock.
Kudos also to Liz Scott as "Dusty" Chandler the chanteuse with a past, of course a secret. Thiis film has no real heart, no soul, it was meant to capitalize on the commercial of Bogie’s other films. In today's parlance it is little more than a copy and past presentation of other Bogie films. I could say more but I’m getting upset, but Dead Reckoning gives the appearance of a studio, the director and the writers going through the motions of making a film.
Finally, I dare anyone not to laugh at the final scene when Bogie comforts Liz Scott.
One of Topps best cards. The front usually had a portrait of the player, the logo on the lower left. The back was nicely done as well. Highlights on the left, a cartoon on the right. The 1960's are reminiscent of the 1955 and and 1956 cards.
No player embodies the line, “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these, 'It might have been,” than Herb Score. He came up as a 22 year old rookie in 1955. He was 16-10 with an ERA of 2.85 and, at that time, set a rookie strikeout record of 247 in only 227 innings. He was better the next year; 20-9 an ERA of 2.53, 265 strikeouts in 249 innings and a league high 5 shutouts. Indian fans referred to him a left-handed Bob Feller.
But on May 7, 1957 that changed. His potential Hall of Fame career was effectively ended by a line drive off the bat Yankee, Gil McDougald that caught him flush in the eye. There were fears he would lose his eye. He was done for the year, and although he pitched until 1962 he was never close to being the pitcher of his first two full seasons. The back of the 1960 card shows some of his pitching highlights. It also shows a 4.70 ERA and a high walk to strikeout ration. Contrary to what had originally been thought he did not lose vision. He could see as well as before.
Some say that he had already been suffering elbow problems; others think there was a change in his follow through after throwing the ball. Whatever the reason, Score would have been one of the game’s greatest pitchers, if not for that injury. Herb Score went on to become a beloved Indians’ announcer. He had no regrets, in fact he considered himself lucky for that ball might have been killed him. Still, when I look at that card, I cannot but think of what might have been.