PRINT December 1969


Don Siegel, Madigan, Coogan’s Bluff, and The Lineup

Considering the automatic high coloring of his vermin, the anxious hopping around for the picturesque, the hokey scripts with worn-out capers and police-routine plots, why write about Don Siegel? Having made a few good modest-budget films—Baby Face Nelson, Flaming Feather with Presley, Return of the Body Snatchers—that aren’t shown in art theaters, he has been wrongly deified by auteurists, though he’s basically a determinedly lower case, crafty entertainer who utilizes his own violence to build unsettling movies with cheap musical scores that leave in their wake a feeling of being smeared with bilge. Not as good as Hawks before Red Line 7000, probably better than Blake Edwards (Gunn), another manipulative sock-bam director, not as gutty or lyrical as the Sam Fuller of Pick Up on South Street, he is interesting only if he’s left life size and unhaloed.

What is a Don Siegel movie? Mainly

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