The Lineup is based on a popular teleseries [1954-60] and has some of the same characters. But the screenplay is original material. The production is a moderately exciting melodrama based on dope smuggling in San Francisco, but short on action until the final, well-plotted and photographed, climax.
The action centers around the attempt by a narcotics gang to get the heroin it has planted abroad in the possession of travelers debarking in San Francisco. Eli Wallach heads the gang’s pickup squad, aided by brains Robert Keith and driver Richard Jaeckel.
The best part of the action is its background, the Mark Hopkins motel, a Nob Hill mansion, Sutro’s museum, the Opera House. There is also a good chase sequence at the end on an unfinished freeway. But the early parts of the film waste too much time on police procedure and lingo.
Wallach is wasted in the leading role. He seems an ordinary heavy, competent but not particularly interesting.