Monday, August 3, 2015

The Sniper (1952)

(SLWB -  October 05, 2011)
Director: Edward Dmytryk with, Arthur Franz, Adolphe Menjou, Marie Windsor, and Gerald Mohr.  A man (Franz) released from prison who has been a looser with women all his life, starts on a trail of murder with a high-power rifle targeting brunettes. The police are baffled by the apparently random killings until a police psychologist sets them on the right trail. Produced by Stanley Kramer its definitely a "message" film one of Kramers trademarks but an enjoyable one. However the message is a bit camouflaged.  If you imagine each shooting to be a sort of codified rape, it makes a bit  more sense when the police are talking about the killings as sex crimes. Its both weird and compelling. The scenes of the women being shot are excellent and disturbing.

Marie Windsor playing a comely nightclub piano player unintentionally sets Franz off on his serial killing spree and in the process becomes his first victim. The script and acting by Franz as the sniper" with his mannerisms and facial tics is extremely convincing.

A lot of on location San Francisco adds to the enjoyment of the film. As part of the Columbia Pictures Film Noir Collection Vol 1 it has an excellent and informative commentary by Eddie Muller whom novelist James Ellroy has dubbed him "The Czar of Noir". So the film can be enjoyed twice 8/10

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