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The Sniper (1952)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Thriller  |  9 May 1952 (USA)
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 1,512 users  
Reviews: 38 user | 21 critic

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

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(screenplay), (story), 1 more credit »
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Title: The Sniper (1952)

The Sniper (1952) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Police Lt. Frank Kafka
Arthur Franz ...
Eddie Miller
...
Police Sgt. Joe Ferris
...
Jean Darr
...
Police Insp. Anderson
...
Dr. James G. Kent
Mabel Paige ...
Landlady
Marlo Dwyer ...
May Nelson
Geraldine Carr ...
Checker
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Storyline

Apparently rejected by women all his life, a loner with a high-power rifle starts on a trail of murder. The police are baffled by the apparently random killings until their psychologist comes up with some ideas. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

police | rifle | killing | sniper | murder | See All (190) »

Taglines:

To the police - stop me. Find me and stop me. I'm going to do it again. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 May 1952 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El Francotirador  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In an early example of product placement, Arthur Franz as Eddie Miller drinks a Blatz beer from Marie Windsor's refrigerator. See more »

Goofs

Miller takes a full beer out of the refrigerator and takes one sip, but in the next shot, 80% of the bottle is empty. See more »

Quotes

Police Photographer: [Referring to photographing the dead body] How about one with the sheet off, Lieutenant? Just one, that's all.
Police Lt. Frank Kafka: Not a chance!
Police Photographer: Why not? What's the matter?
Police Lt. Frank Kafka: Listen, food's too expensive to spoil people's appetite for breakfast. I wouldn't want a dead girl on my front page.
Police Photographer: You've got one anyway.
Police Lt. Frank Kafka: I don't like dead girls on the front page or anywhere else.
Police Sgt. Joe Ferris: [Interjecting] Should of been with me last night. You wouldn't have liked a couple of live ones. I had a lot of trouble last night.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in A Tribute to Stanley Kramer (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Plaisir D'Amour
(uncredited)
Composed by Johann Martini (as Jean-Paul Egide Martini)
Played by Marie Windsor in piano bar
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Undeservedly obscure noir
11 January 2003 | by (US of A) – See all my reviews

Interesting noir from veteran director Dmytryk. Arthur Franz gives a good twitchy, sweaty performance as a sex criminal released from prison for assaulting women, only to be compelled to kill them with a stolen military rifle once free, and silent star Adolphe Menjou is the police officer in charge of stopping Franz's crime spree. As lurid as the subject matter is, the film's approach to it is admirably serious and even-handed, especially when contrasted to that taken by other films about serial killers. For example, Fritz Lang's noir "While the City Sleeps", made around the same time, features a character similar to Franz's as its villian (a disturbed young killer with a mother fixation, who leaves messages for the police urging them to catch him), but its portrayal of the murderer is comically overwrought in comparison. Some of the psychological shorthand used to illustrate Franz's fractured psyche may appear naive to contemporary audiences (stroking his phallic rifle in anticipation to his murders, wincing in pain when he passes a mother slapping her child on the street), but he's a much more realistic and credible criminal than the overheated creations that populate recent films about the same subject (Seven, Hannibal Lecter trilogy, etc). The film's sober and non-sensational tone can be attributed partly to producer Stanley Kramer; the redeeming social message that is commonly found in his films creeps into this one through the character of a police psychologist, who gives a speech about the need to change the laws that deal with sex criminals (not a lot has changed since the time this movie was released - so much for the redeeming social message). Dmytryk's direction is typically stylish (why did it become so turgid later on?), and he makes excellent use of San Francisco locations. The finale, where the police finally close in on the sniper is particularly well done, with one sequence standing out as especially memorable and effective: a construction worker gives the sniper away as he's about to claim another victim, and discovers too late that its a bad idea to cross a psychopath with a long distance rifle, especially when in the not very convenient position of dangling from a smokestack. The cast is strong, and includes a welcome appearance by B-movie fave Marie Windsor, as a bar pianist who ends up as the sniper's first victim. Nominated for an Oscar for best screenplay, "The Sniper" is fairly obscure compared to other noirs and is unavailable on video - it's really worth catching during one of its occaisonal appearances on cable TV.


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