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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 <email@example.com>
For those of you who are fans of the TV show Monk, The Killer Is Loose just might be a film to see. The film belongs to Wendell Corey in the title role.
Now I'm not saying that Corey's character is anything like the lovable, multi-phobic Adrian Monk. For one thing, Monk is on the right side of the law. But in the way that Monk was so fanatically attached to his late wife who was killed it strikes a similar note in me when I watched this film and Wendell Corey's performance.
The film begins with a bank holdup in which teller Corey tries to stop the bandits and is pistol-whipped. These guys however left a number of clues that point to an inside man. Police detectives Joseph Cotten and Michael Pate put a tap on all suspects. The tap points the finger at Corey as the inside man.
But in trying to take him, Pate is wounded and then Cotten fires through the closed door. When they open the door it's Corey's wife that is dead and Corey numbly and meekly surrenders to the police.
At his sentence Corey vows vengeance and later on much into his sentence he's given the honor farm for good behavior and kills a guard in his escape. He told cell-mates he was going to kill Rhonda Fleming who is Cotten's wife in retaliation.
The key scene in the film is when he holds his former army sergeant John Larch and his wife Dee Thompson as hostages while he figures how to get to Cotten. While they were in the service Larch did not really hold Corey in high regard in any case. He starts talking about his past and basically that he'd been an amiable screw-up, never really amounting to anything. The one person in his life, the one good thing he had was his marriage. His wife apparently was a lot like Trudy Monk, able to put up with a lot of insecurities. Like Monk, his whole world was shattered when she was killed.
Corey is a frighteningly ordinary man which makes his psychotic behavior all the more frightening.
Director Budd Boetticher, known primarily for those Randolph Scott westerns, gets a good performance out of the cast. But the film is dominated by Wendell Corey. It's a really good B noir film and shouldn't be missed.
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