Friday, April 15, 2016

The Sniper (1952)

Director: Edward Dmytryk

Writers: Harry Brown, Edna Anhalt, Edward Anhalt

Composer: George Antheil

Starring: Adolphe Menjou, Arthur Franz, Gerald Mohr, Marie Windsor, Frank Faylen, Richard Kiley, Mabel Paige, Marlo Dwyer, Geraldine Carr, Wally Cox

More info: IMDb

Tagline:  Hungrily, he watched her walk down the street...and then he squeezed the trigger!

Plot: A sniper kills young brunettes as the police attempt to grapple with the psychology of the unknown assailant.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again?  Yes.

HOLY SHIT!  Great flick!  I expected an average crime thriller but this one takes the subject more seriously than most pictures of the era.  Something else I didn't expect was a picture about a serial killer, only that term wasn't coined until 2-3 decades later.  This dude kills a few broads and not in a shy way.  The filmmakers had the balls to show you full on.  Nice!  The murder of the lounge singer is particularly good as is the man at the end who yells for help.  Wow!  The dialogue  is fast and sharp but not in that noir gumshoe way.  With that, the pacing is at times break neck speeds.  The way the cops treat the lineup of sex offenders is harsh and says a lot about how naive we as a society were about sexual deviancy and the psychological impact.  The performances are solid across the board.  I love movies and this is one of those examples of a film that comes out of nowhere and makes an impact.  I watch hundreds of films a year and there's a lot of garbage spread out over that year but it's pictures like this that keep me going.  It's gems like this that make it all worthwhile.  Highly recommended.  This is one of six films in the Columbia Pictures Film Noir Classics 1.  It comes with a commentary from the author Eddie Muller, Martin Scorsese talking about the picture for three minutes and the theatrical trailer.  The set is out of print but I highly recommend picking it up.  It's a great set and it's great that Columbia went through the trouble of including such worthwhile extras for films most people will live their lives having never hearing of them.

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