The Lineup

Browsing through YouTube I found this 1958 police procedural film starring Eli Wallach, and based on a radio series and then TV series of the same name.

The story involves a drug-smuggling racket that gets drugs into San Francisco by planting heroin on cruise ship passengers. The drugs are then collected by two hired thugs (Eli Wallach and the excellent Robert Keith) as Dancer and Julian. The two thugs usually bump off the passengers once they have the heroin, so the cops have a lot of proceduring to do.

The actor who played the police lieutenant in the TV series also played his role this this, however star billing was given to Eli. As in all of the police procedurals I have seen so far the acting for the copper characters is played very straight and business-like, with the only colourful characters being the crims. Eli Wallach was great in this, as was Robert Keith, both of them very sinister, and quite psychopathic.

The actor playing the getaway car driver, Sandy, looked very familiar to me, but I couldn’t place him. Turns out he was Richard Jaeckel who you will recognise from films such as The Dirty Dozen, Herbie Goes Bananas, and Airplane II

He was not a household name, but he sure did have a busy career in both film and television, the highpoint playing Lt. Ben Edwards, the longest serving lifeguard on Baywatch.

Julian, Sandy, and Dancer

The mysterious wheelchair-bound leader of the drug ring appears at the end and was brilliant. For most of his scene when he meets Eli’s character he said nothing and had this look on his face…

When he did finally say something it was “You’re dead!”. Brilliant stuff.

It was also great too see 1950’s San Francisco, and I recognised one location that was used in the 1947 film Dark Passage with Humphrey Bogart.

As far as police procedurals go this was a pretty good one.

Date watched: August 12th
Score: 8/10
Film count 2017: 90

(there is more after the poster)

At the end of some blog posts from now on I am going to add links to posts of films I watched on the same day in the past, starting with the following (you will see how far my film blog post writing has come):

Six years ago – The Prophecy

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