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The Killer Is Loose (1956)

Approved  |   |  Crime, Drama, Film-Noir  |  2 March 1956 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 1,034 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 21 critic

An unhinged, deceptively mild-mannered bank robber escapes prison, seeking revenge on the cop who accidentally killed his wife during a gun battle.



(screenplay), (from a story by), 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Detective Sam Wagner
Lila Wagner
Leon 'Foggy' Poole
Denny (as Alan Hale)
Detective Chris Gillespie
John Larch ...
Otto Flanders
Dee J. Thompson ...
Grace Flanders
John Beradino ...
Virginia Christine ...
Paul Bryar ...
Greg Boyd


A savings-and-loan bank is robbed; later, a police wiretap identifies teller Leon Poole as inside man. In capturing him, detective Sam Wagner accidentally kills Poole's young wife, and at his trial Poole swears vengeance against Wagner. About three years later, Poole (until then a model prisoner) abruptly takes his chance to kill a guard and escape. It's clear during the ensuing manhunt that Poole is obsessed in pursuit of a single end; but not quite the end everyone supposes. Written by Rod Crawford <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

bank | escape | detective | prison | trial | See All (32) »


He was no ordinary killer... She was no ordinary victim... This is no ordinary motion picture! See more »


Crime | Drama | Film-Noir


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

2 March 1956 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Blutige Hände  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)
See  »

Did You Know?


The rear view mirror inside Sam Wagner's Ford is missing during the interior shots, but visible from the outside shots. See more »


Referenced in Trapped Ashes (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Terrific, perverse unknown B noir
12 October 1999 | by (Chicago) – See all my reviews

Although Andrew Sarris italicized it in the list of Boetticher's films in The American Cinema (meaning he recognized it as one of the more notable films on the list), I've never run across any critical comment on this film. Nevertheless, it's a real discovery-- imagine Cape Fear with Wally Cox in the Mitchum role and you get some idea. Corey (who usually played stiff bureaucrats and cops himself) gets the role of his life as a mild-mannered clerk turned crook who becomes unhinged and escapes with the plan to kill the cop who sent him up. What's creepy about him is that, like Norman Bates, he never even raises his voice-- and like Norman Bates, eventually he winds up in a dress (oh, it seems logical enough as a disguise, but it introduces an unmistakable air of sexual confusion and perversity into the violent climax that catapults the film into Fullerian ranks of psychosexual luridness). And if you want to know what Brian dePalma's been trying to do all these years with movies like Blow Out and Snake Eyes, just watch how effortlessly Boetticher plays out the climax over walkie-talkies (a sequence to rival Touch of Evil).

25 of 28 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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