The Lineup

This is the final movie on the Columbia Noir #1 box set, and if the movies have anything in common, it’s that 1) they’re cheap, and 2) they’re not really noir movies.

This starts off really intriguing — lots of action, and a big mystery.

OK, the mystery is totally gone now, and it’s just a standard procedural. This feels more like a TV episode than a movie at this point.


The Lineup is a 1958 American film noir version of the police procedural television series of the same title that ran on CBS radio from 1950 until 1953, and on CBS television from 1954 until 1960.

So there’s a good reason for that…

This is so weird. I mean, they’re going for an in depth view into the minds of sociopath killers, so they have them standing around glowering at each other, being all tough… And then they have them going “so how did you end up being like this?” which is totally a thing a mobster would say to a hired killer, right? And the killer says “I had a father. I never knew him.”

That must have taken the writers several weeks to come up with.

They’ve working really hard at making these guys interesting — the older guy is teaching the younger guy all about grammer and stuff, and the younger guy (who’s the killer) tells the older guy the last words of everybody he’s killing, and the older guy writes them down enthusiastically. He’s writing a philosophical treatise about last words or something?

So both stone cold sociopaths, but originals.

And it’s all so “wha”. What the fuck were the writers thinking?

But people like this?

So do the critics (except for Internet Reviews, who’s correct).

I guess an attraction here is that we’re getting all these really nice views of oldee tymey San Francisco.

Just when you think can’t get any more stupid…


The Lineup . Don Siegel. 1958.

In the Shadow of the Sun

I may have seen this before at the local cinematheque back in the 80s — but I’m not sure. Jarman did more than a couple of movies based on speeding up/slowing down old Super 8 films and editing them together with an interesting soundtrack… so this seems familiar, but not hugely so.

I wonder how they approached restoring this for the bluray… The movie (which is 35mm, I’m guessing) was composed from 8mm originals, I think? Which is super grainy, and there’s a lot of dust and stuff… but that was reproduced by Jarman deliberately, so you don’t want to edit that out. But you do want to get rid of the artefacts from the degraded 35mm print.

I guess you just er wing it?

This looks really good, though.

And it’s rather fascinating. Without the soundtrack by Throbbing Gristle, though, it would have been a very different film.

It’s… contemplative.

If I really did see this back when I was a student, I would have felt very cultured indeed — I mean, watching an abstract movie like this surely deserves a lot of cultural brownie points!

And I guess I still feel like that? But I do like this one anyway. Even if there are no bragging rights attached these days.

In the Shadow of the Sun. Derek Jarman. 1981.

Sebastiane: A Work in Progress

Box sets from the BFI (the British Film Institute) are pretty interesting — that is, they have access to a lot of odds and ends that even outfits like Criterion don’t. For one, they have their own archives, where a lot of British film stuff has been deposited. And they also have access to the BBC archives, where there’s a lot of stuff, too.

So you get stuff like this: It’s an incomplete alternate edit of the Sebastiane film — in black and white and 16mm.

They’re releasing bluray box sets — so why not include stuff like this? There’s more than enough space on the discs, I’m guessing they’re thinking.

But… it’s not really that interesting, is it? The differences between this cut and the released cut isn’t … huge. The scenes are in a different order, but they aren’t really more compelling in this version than they are in the other version.

So I didn’t really watch this all the way through.

Sebastiane. Derek Jarman. 1975.