A sniper kills young brunettes as the police attempt to grapple with the psychology of the unknown assailant.A sniper kills young brunettes as the police attempt to grapple with the psychology of the unknown assailant.A sniper kills young brunettes as the police attempt to grapple with the psychology of the unknown assailant.
It's certainly a very watchable movie. The San Francisco locations are used to great effect-- the cops surveilling downtown rooftops from on high sets up a marvelous panoramic look at the city. Then too, the smokestack scene with its human fly amounts to pure cinematic magic. A problem in the film lies with too much obviousness where a lighter hand is needed. Thus, when Eddie goes on a little downtown stroll, he doesn't encounter just one woman-caused frustration, but a whole heavy-handed series of them. Too bad, because we get the idea early on that petty annoyances involving women amount to major injuries in Eddie's twisted world. Then there's the let's- hit-you-over-the-head-in-case-you-don't-get-it last scene; it's about as necessary as strip-poker at a nudist colony. Still and all, the movie's heart is in the right place, even if it appears made at times for the slow-witted.
One big benefit for 50's-era fans is cult favorite Marie Windsor in a low-cut evening gown, purring her seductive lines to Eddie even as she exploits him to the hilt. What a great cameo from a really unusual actress.Too bad their scene together comes so early because it's a pip and a movie high point. Speaking of film eras, compare the themes and locations of this movie (1951) with the cinematically similar, Vietnam-era Dirty Harry (1971). Tellingly, the hopeful reformism that Kramer&Co. plead for in Sniper has been replaced by a kind of hopeless vigilantism where Harry (Clint Eastwood) ends up rejecting city hall, killing the sniper, and throwing away his policeman's badge. Mark it down to what you will, but the change-over is pretty stark and startling. Anyway, this little B-film created quite a stir at the time and remains an interesting piece of movie history, well worth thinking about
- Jan 25, 2008