Introduction: Don Siegel (04:21)
This episode of “The Directors” highlights the films of Siegel, a director of action films and founding father of modern crime drama. His credits include “Dirty Harry,” “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” and other classics.
Early Life and Career (02:07)
Siegel was born to a family of Chicago musicians in 1912. He obtained a job in the montage department at Warner Bros., which lead to a gig on “Casablanca.” The first films he directed were “Star in the Night” and “Hitler Lives.”
First Feature Films (03:45)
Siegel directed “The Verdict,” starring Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre. He followed with a pair of film noir projects, “Night unto Night” and “The Big Steal,” which starred Ronald Reagan and Robert Mitchum, respectively.
“Riot in Cell Block 11" (02:42)
Siegel directed “Count the Hours” and “The Duel at Silver Creek” before creating the classic film shot in Folsom Prison. Sam Peckinpah was assistant casting director.
“Private Hell 36” (04:00)
The Siegel-directed film starring Ida Lupino, Steve Cochran, and Howard Duff opened in 1954. It was Siegel’s first foray into crime thrillers.
“Crime in the Streets" (04:04)
Siegel directed the televised movie about juvenile delinquent street gangs starring Sal Mineo and John Cassavetes. He followed with a series of noir films that include “Baby Face Nelson,” “The Gun Runners,” and “The Lineup.”
Cutting Edge Westerns (04:11)
“Edge of Eternity” was shot on location at the Grand Canyon. “Flaming Star” stars Elvis Presley as a mixed-blood hero who gets caught in a conflict between whites and Native Americans.
“Hell is for Heroes" (03:57)
Steve McQueen stars in Siegel’s 1962 film about American soldiers on the front lines during World War II. Two years later, Siegel adapted Ernest Hemingway’s “The Killers" starring Ronald Reagan; it influenced Peckinpah and Quentin Tarantino.
Westerns and Drama (04:03)
Siegel’s late-1960s films“Stranger on the Run” and “Death of a Gunfighter” star Henry Fonda and Richard Widmark, who also team up for “Madigan.” “Coogan’s Bluff” began collaborations between Siegel and Clint Eastwood.
Siegel/Eastwood Collaborations (04:50)
In the early 1970s, Siegel and Eastwood worked on “Two Mules for Sister Sara” and “The Beguiled, but it was “Dirty Harry" that became the biggest hit of Siegel's career.
"Charlie Varrick" (02:31)
Siegel directed the 1973 film starring Walter Matthau as a bank robber who does not realize he is stealing from the mob; Eastwood was originally cast in the lead role. The film was not a hit, but has since been vindicated.
Siegel's Final Films (05:02)
Siegel worked with Michael Caine on “The Black Windmill” before assembling an all-star cast for the 1976 western, “The Shootist." Siegel reunited with Eastwood for “Escape from Alcatraz.” The director died in 1991.
Credits: Don Siegel (00:40)
Credits: Don Siegel
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