The Sniper (1952)

Approved   |    |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir


The Sniper (1952) Poster

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

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7.2/10
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  • Arthur Franz in The Sniper (1952)
  • Robert Foulk and Robert B. Williams in The Sniper (1952)
  • Arthur Franz and Marie Windsor in The Sniper (1952)
  • Marie Windsor in The Sniper (1952)
  • Adolphe Menjou in The Sniper (1952)
  • Arthur Franz and Marie Windsor in The Sniper (1952)

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16 February 2011 | bkoganbing
8
| Taking It Out On The World
Almost twenty years before San Francisco was terrorized by another sniper in Dirty Harry, this well received B film from Columbia Pictures painted a far less glamorous picture of a mentally ill individual taking his problems out on the world. Arthur Franz got his career role in The Sniper and a pity it didn't elevate him to stardom although he certainly had a distinguished and long career.

Franz paints us a portrayal of a socially challenged man who just can't get anywhere with the opposite sex. He conceives a pathological hatred of all women and an innocent encounter with a nightclub performer played by Marie Windsor finally triggers him off.

After that Franz is on a rampage, killing women almost at random from various San Francisco rooftops. The film was shot on location in San Francisco and The Sniper bears a whole lot of resemblance to The Naked City where Jules Dassin made New York's mean streets as much a star as the human players. Director Edward Dmytryk does the same for San Francisco.

And the cops here are much like Barry Fitzgerald and Don Taylor from that film. Watching the film I wonder how much persuasion it took to get Adolphe Menjou to shave off that famous wax mustache of his, a remnant of fashion from a bygone era. It certainly wouldn't have gone with his role as a homicide cop. But the voice is distinctive and Menjou put it over. Acting as his younger sidekick is Gerald Mohr.

What's ironic in The Sniper is that the whole thing is a desperate cry for help to a world to busy to care. The minor key ending of The Sniper brings that point home quite vividly.

The Sniper is a noir classic, not as glamorous as Dirty Harry Callahan's pursuit of another twisted individual through San Francisco, but a whole lot more realistic.

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