Carl Martin is a morose and deranged Los Angeles gardener, who,in retribution for the infidelity of his unfaithful wife, sets about to kill as many blonde's as he can. From the time the film opens, to the sound of a radio turned up full-blast over the still-warm corpse of a blonde, the audience knows the identity of the killer. The film depicts, with documentary realism as it was shot on location in and around Los Angeles, how the police, using laboratory techniques against the few clues they have, track down Martin. Their key clue is a spring from a pair of garden shears. The police move in just as Martin is about to add Jane Saunders, the daughter of a greenhouse owner, to his long list of victims. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
WITHOUT WARNING turns out to be well worth the wait for those Noir fans who have long wished they could see this legendary movie. The direction is tight, the acting mostly very good, and the look of the film is priceless because it captures so many LA locations that are no longer in existence, or that have been drastically altered over 50-plus years. On the visual level alone, WITHOUT WARNING is a must-see. For a movie of this length (77 min) and low budget, we get several nicely executed edge-of-your-seat thrills. However, the intelligent screenplay provides plenty of dramatic interest as well. This is one of many 'police procedural' Noirs, but it's several cuts above most others: the narration is concise and mostly unobtrusive, and the scenes of 1950s-style police forensics are all interesting and even feature a degree of humor from a witty lab technician. Best of all is the intrigue. An early example of a serial killer Noir, WITHOUT WARNING compares favorably with THE SNIPER (from the same period)--in its close observation of a killer at work, interspersed with police attempts to track him down--but it's much less sympathetic to the perpetrator in this case. A movie of this type needs a lead actor who can gain audience interest and hold it. This is the case with THE SNIPER, and it's also true in WITHOUT WARNING. Let's hope Adam Williams is around to see the beautiful DVD issue of his great lead performance as Carl Martin. This is a fully realized characterization: tormented, enraged, clever, and pathetic. Williams makes it all believable, and he is ultimately responsible for making the film work so well.
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