• Charley Varrick

On Mon 7/22 at the Patio Theater, the Northwest Chicago Film Society presents the great Don Siegel film The Lineup. Siegel should be a familiar name, as he’s the director behind such canonical American favorites as Invasion of the Body Snatchers and the Dirty Harry films. A master formalist who relished the opportunity to jam as much movement, commotion, and physical action as possible into a single scene, Siegel’s films are also supremely serious examinations of criminality and violence, as well as solitary males prone to both—and averse to civilized behavior. (With Dirty Harry, it can be argued that Siegel helped mold the character type now referred to as the “antihero.”) The critic John Baxter once wrote that Siegel’s characters “encourage us to see mirrored our own urges for violence and anarchy. . .[He] finds proof of this symbiosis in our legal system, an imperfect tool which we ourselves sabotage. His films mock its structures [and parody] sociology, legal procedure, and especially the concept of rehabilitation.”

My five favorite Siegel films follow.