7.1/10
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The Sniper (1952)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 7 August 1952 (Denmark)
A sniper kills young brunettes as the police attempt to grapple with the psychology of the unknown assailant.

Director:

Writers:

(screen play by), (story by) (as Edna and Edward Anhalt) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview:
...
Police Lt. Frank Kafka
...
Eddie Miller
...
Police Sgt. Joe Ferris
...
Jean Darr
...
Police Insp. Anderson
...
Dr. James G. Kent
...
Landlady
...
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 (191) »

Taglines:

They were all brunettes... all under 30... and they all crossed the path of "THE SNIPER" See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

7 August 1952 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

El Francotirador  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final credited film appearance of Geraldine Carr. See more »

Goofs

When the policeman (Robert Foulk) is running to catch the young kid with the rifle on the roof of a building he jumps off the same roof twice onto a lower roof. 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've 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

References Raiders of Tomahawk Creek (1950) See more »

Soundtracks

Pennies from Heaven
(uncredited)
Music by Arthur Johnston
Words by Johnny Burke (1936)
Played by Marie Windsor in piano bar
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Interesting Character Study/Crime Story
1 March 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

For much of this film noir, it was almost more of a character study than a crime movie, since there was very little action and only some suspense in the final 10 minutes. However, I'm not complaining. I found the film got better and better as it went along and was an interesting story overall with an excellent cast. When the action did occur- the sniper's shots - they were shocking scenes, shocking in their suddenness.

I appreciated the fact they shot this on the streets in San Francisco, where the story takes place, instead of some Hollywood back-lot. That city, in particular, with its steep streets and bay-windowed houses, is fun to look at in any era. This happens to be very early 1950s. As with many noirs, the photography was notable, too. I liked a number of the camera angles used in this movie.

I also appreciated that cast. Arthur Franz is excellent in the lead role of the tormented killer, "Eddie Miller." Eddie knows right from the start that he's a sick man, that he can't help himself and that he needs him. (So, why didn't he turn himself in?) It was fun to see an older and sans-mustached Adolphe Menjou as the police lieutenant, and Humphrey Bogart- lookalike Gerald Mohr as a police sergeant. It was most fun, being a film noir buff, to see Marie Windsor. This "queen of noir," unfortunately, didn't have that big a role in here.

What really struck were some bizarre scenes, things I have never seen in these crime movies on the '30s through '50s. For example, there was an investigation of sniper suspects held at the police building in which three suspects at a time were grilled - in front of about a hundred cops. The grilling was more like taunting and insult-throwing by this sadistic cop in charge, who made fun of each guy. Man, if they tried that today, there would lawsuits up the wazoo (so to speak).

Then there was this James Dean-type teen who was on top of a city building with a rifle, right in the middle of this citywide sniper scare. The cops bravely bring him in without killing him and are yelled at for doing so, since the gun wasn't in serviceable order. Duh! The cops were supposed to just see a guy waving a gun on top of a rooftop and let him go, no questions asked?

A number of things in here stretched credibility, but there were some intelligent aspects, too. "Dr. Richard Kent," played by Richard Kiely, was a case in point. He was the police psychologist and gave strong speeches (the film got a little preachy at times) advocating what should be done with sex-crime offenders, some of it Liberal and some of it Conservative in nature. He made some good points. "Eddie" had sex problems, I guess, but I don't remember it being discussed in the film. Maybe I missed that. The film did miss that aspect: Eddie's background, which triggered all the violence.

The second half of this film is far better, because the killings increase and the suspense starts to mount. As it goes on, we get more of a feel of what motivates Eddie as we see his reactions to people and how he views things they say. I was surprised, frankly, that he didn't shoot his nasty female boss, since he only harmed women. She was the nastiest woman in the film, and nothing happened to her. What was Eddie thinking?


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