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Don Siegel
Director / Producer
1912 - 1991
Born October 26, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Key Production Country: USA 
Key Genres: Crime, Action Thriller, Action, Drama, Western, Chase Movie, Crime Thriller, Police Detective Film, Thriller
Key Collaborators: Clint Eastwood (Leading Player), Lalo Schifrin (Composer), Bruce Surtees (Cinematographer), Sheree North (Character Player), Harry Guardino (Leading Player), Howard Rodman (Screenwriter), Dean Riesner (Screenwriter), Hal Mohr (Cinematographer), Jack Elam (Character Player), Leo Gordon (Character Player)

Highly Recommended: Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)*
Recommended: The Big Steal (1949), Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954), The Lineup (1958)#, Hell is for Heroes (1962), The Killers (1964), The Beguiled (1971), Dirty Harry (1971)*, Charley Varrick (1973), The Shootist (1976), Escape from Alcatraz (1979)
Worth a Look: The Verdict (1946), The Duel at Silver Creek (1952), Private Hell 36 (1954)#, Crime in the Streets (1956), Baby Face Nelson (1957), The Gun Runners (1958), Edge of Eternity (1959), Coogan's Bluff (1968), Madigan (1968)
Approach with Caution: Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970)
Duds: Telefon (1977)
* Listed in TSPDT's 1,000 Greatest Films section; # Listed in TSPDT's 250 Quintessential Noir Films section.

Links: [ Amazon ] [ IMDB ] [ TCMDB ] [ All-Movie Guide ] [ Senses of Cinema: Great Directors ] [ Film Reference ] [ Classic Film and Television Home Page ] [ Don Siegel Tribute ] [ Wikipedia ]
Books: [ A Siegel Film: An Autobiography ]
nvasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)The Big Steal (1949)Escape from Alcatraz (1979)Riot in Cell Block 11 (1954)
  "His classically composed and edited images were as clean, uncluttered and direct as his storylines; his disenchanted but professional (anti-)heroes tended to express frustration through violent action rather than words; the world they fought against was depicted with broad, vivid strokes." - Geoff Andrew (The Director's Vision, 1999)  
  "In the late 50s Siegel was discovered by the young critics (and future directors) of the Cahiers du Cinema - among them Godard, Truffaut, and Rohmer - who crowned him a gifted auteur with a consistent style and point of view, much to his own surprise. In the last 60s, following a mixed bag of less-than-memorable productions, the director began a fruitful collaboration with actor Clint Eastwood that resulted in 1971 in Dirty Harry." - (The MacMillan International Film Encyclopedia, 1994)  
  "Siegel's style does not encompass the demonic distortions of Fuller's, Aldrich's, Losey's, and, to a lesser extent, Karlson's. Siegel declines to implicate the world at large in the anarchic causes of his heroes. Nor does he adjust his compositions to their psychological quirks. The moral architecture of his universe is never undermined by the editing, however frenzied. Nevertheless, the final car chase in The Lineup and the final shoot-up in Madigan are among the most stunning displays of action montage in the history of the American cinema." - Andrew Sarris (The American Cinema, 1968)  
  "One of the best action directors working today. Siegel imbues his films with well-motivated violence, brevity, psychological tension, and humor." - William R. Meyer (The Film Buff's Catalog, 1978)  
  "I think in America I'm looked upon as the equivalent of a European director -- which is quite laughable. I've never had a personal publicity man working for me. So all this came out of the blue -- all this publicity. The cult was not engineered. It festered, in a sense. And erupted. And it did me a lot of good." - Don Siegel  
Please note that the rating given for this director (see top-right) is based only on the films we have seen (listed above). Films by this director that we haven't seen include Night Unto Night (1949), No Time for Flowers (1952), China Venture (1953), Count the Hours (1953), An Annapolis Story (1955), Spanish Affair (1958), Hound-Dog Man (1959), Flaming Star (1960), Big Jake (1971), The Black Windmill (1974), Rough Cut (1980), and Jinxed! (1982).

"Don Siegel’s virtues—tightly constructed narratives and explosive action sequences—have been apparent from the very beginning. Even his B pictures have an enviable ability to pin audiences to their seats through the sheer force and pace of the events they portray... More than any other action director of his generation Siegel has avoided the genre’s potential for reductive simplification. He has combined entertainment with perception, skilled filmmaking economy with nicely delineated characters, and overall moral detachment with sympathy for his hard-pressed protagonists. His movie world may often seem uncongenial, but its creator has never appeared callous or unconcerned. His films have achieved much-deserved commercial success; his skill and subtlety have deserved rather more in the way of critical attention." - Andrew Tudor, International Dictionary of Film and Filmmakers

Top 250 Directors
Key Noir Filmmaker
Expressive Esoterica
501 Movie Directors: A Comprehensive Guide to the Greatest Filmmakers
See Also
Jack Arnold
Robert Aldrich
Jules Dassin
Clint Eastwood
John Frankenheimer
Samuel Fuller
Phil Karlson
Anthony Mann
Sam Peckinpah
Arthur Penn
John Sturges
J. Lee Thompson


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