CC Matinee: The Lineup (1958)

Hey, let’s play hooky and go see a movie! Wanna? I found this the other day in the rabbit warren that led on from Paul’s San Francisco cable car footage. Today’s picture—also set in the City—is a movie version of the same-named police procedural series which ran on CBS as a radio show from 1950 until 1953, then as a television program from 1954 until 1960.

It’s not a deepie (3D)—matter o’ fact, it’s pretty one-dimensional; MST3K could’ve made a hearty meal of this. But that doesn’t make any difference, because the carwatching is A-number-1! The image is surprisingly sharp and clear, too, maybe in part because black-and-white rather than colour. And the audio’s good, too; we get to hear the clicks when someone operates transmission pushbuttons. Grab snacks and let’s find good seats.

Cars-cars-cars right from the start down at the docks to the end on the unfinished Embarcadero Freeway. There’s an early-’50s Plymouth taxicab as a would-be getaway car, and the fuzz in a ’57 Dodge chase the bad guys in a ’57 Plymouth all day. There’s a big lot of rolling iron to spot. Not just the feautre cars but the incidental ones, too, and the trucks and that school bus(!). That hosey accent out of the big cop, the call boxes, the police procedures, the manners, the billboards, the ample parking and sparse traffic and lack of visual clutter…the past is a foreign country, alright. What do you see?