|Index||8 reviews in total|
Even longtime fans of Ed McBain's evergreen series of police procedurals
in the 87th Precinct may be startled to learn that they started out back
the1950s (and they're still coming). Cop Hater was the first of them to
reach the big screen, in a bare-bones production directed by genre-movie
veteran William A. Berke.
A heat wave has settled over The City (it's New York, but McBain never identifies it as such), bringing tempers to the flashpoint. An alarm clock wakes a cop for his midnight shift; when he descends into the soupy night, a shot fells him. The entire precinct mobilizes immediately - one of their own has been killed.
We encounter the familiar names of the Precinct's detectives (or some of them), most notably Steve Carella (here, Carelli), played by a young Robert Loggia; he's the bright cop engaged - not yet married - to the beautiful deaf-mute Teddy (Ellen Parker). His partner Maguire (Gerald O'Loughlin) has already tied the knot, but when he tries to keep cool in his undershorts to the whirr of a feeble fan, his wife (Shirley Ballard) brushes him off (`You're wet - oozing wet,' she sniffs).
When a second cop is gunned down in cold blood, attention turns to members of one of the gangs of young punks that were a fixture of post-war New York, but it's a dead end. Next, it's Maguire's turn to meet his very own dead end. Loggia, made indiscreet by too many `splashes' of Scotch to slake his thirst, tells his theories to a callow newspaper reporter and inadvertently puts Teddy in jeopardy....
Cop Hater gets the feel of the grimy streets and cramped apartments of a sweltering urban jungle just right (it also preserves the film debut of Jerry Orbach and very early appearances by Vincent Gardenia and Loggia). The puzzle of the murders may seem a little mechanical (it's a riff on Agatha Christie's The Alphabet Murders), and personalities don't emerge as vividly as we might like. But then this was early in the series, and McBain had only begun to sketch out the quirks of his recurring characters. McBain, of course, is the pseudonym of Evan Hunter (born Salvatore Lombino), who wrote the screenplays for Blackboard Jungle and The Birds. In Cop Hater, his anonymous City takes pride of place.
Enjoyed this 1958 film dealing with a serial cop killer on the loose in New York City and a horrible heat wave which has most of actors always complaining about the heat. Robert Loggia (Detective Steve Carelli) is a very dedicated policeman and he works with Teddy Franklin, (Ellen Parker) who is an attractive gal. Alice Maguire, (Shirley Ballard) plays the role as a very sexy wife to Detective Mike Maguire, (Gerald O'Loughlin) but Alice is getting tired of being married to a cop and she wants her husband to quit because of all the cops being killed by a mad man throughout the City of New York. There are some sexy scenes which were considered very naughty to see a girl naked with a towel wrapped around her and a few other scenes with girls showing plenty of their legs. This is a great mystery and very good acting by Robert Loggia. Enjoy.
Cop Hater (1958)
This is no brilliant affair, but it's more enjoyable than you might expect. It centers around a precinct police station and a group of guys who are suddenly on a manhunt for a cop killer. While that part of the plot has its small moments, it's the interaction between these guys, including some honest fun banter (not tough guy stuff), that really works. And two or three of the main cops are good actors, holding their own.
There are women on the side, one a searing beauty of some sort (a bit exaggerated and stiff, but you get the idea when she's on), the other a sharp and stylish deaf and mute woman played by Ellen Parker. These types are obviously meant to be opposites, one sympathetic and modest, the other full of herself and untrustworthy.
There is a Latino gang that figures into play eventually, and that gets a little crazy in its own way. And the leader is Glenn Cannon, who went on to have a long career on t.v. This is his first movie and he's pretty terrific for his four minutes of fame.
Otherwise this is a conventionally filmed crime film. Don't expect a gritty or moody film noir, because it's not that. But do expect a well paced plot with some nice interpersonal stuff. Probably has more honesty to it than most crime movies of the time, which are pumped up with types and drama.
Very interesting, well done look at the late 1950's in NY, on the streets, in the precinct house. What is so amazing is that you really can tell which actors will end up stars or at least significant players. Charisma is very real and evident here. Robert Loggia is a revelation. I've never seen him so young and yet he is very macho and attractive. The camera loves him and I'll bet that a lot of viewers do as well. A boyish Jerry Orbach is certainly an eye full as well. Recommended as a very interesting exploration of the past that is now just receding beyond easy recollection. Cannot say that the female performers are as memorable but then, one can't have everything but this dishes up quite a lot and the author certainly deserves his subsequent career.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
****SPOILERS**** Graphically brutal movie for a film released in the
1950's about a cop killer on the loose with the entire city police
department mobilized to track him down.
When two policemen are shot and killed in two days who happened to be partners at the same police precinct for no apparent reason, other then being policemen, the word is out on the street that whoever knows anything about those murders better talk. Or else the full heat of the police force will come down on them.
After checking out every hood and punk gang member in the city the police department came to the conclusion that whoever committed those killings did it only out of his personal hatred of policemen and are looking for a cop hating psycho. What they don't know is that the person behind these murders is a lot closer to them then they think.
Det. Carelli and Maguire, Robert Loggia and Gerald S. O'Loughlin, are assigned to the case but unknown to them one of the detectives is the real reason behind this slew of killings. Later Det. Maguire gets gunned downed in the street and his partner, Det. Carelli, starts to put together what he knows of the case. Det. Carelli comes up with an unbelievable theory to who's doing these killings from his talking to Det. Maguire and his wife Alice, Shirley Ballard.
Going through the motions looking for the killer Det. Carelli is at the bar one night with reporter Hank Miller,Gene Miller. Who's meddlesome actions with this story about a cop killer to get his big scoop almost cost the life of a cop who was mistaken for him. Thats when Miller tried to get a story out of a local teenage gang member by threatening him and his gang with unwanted media exposure.
Det. Carelli drunk and not thinking tells Miller what he thinks is going on with the police killings and who's behind them. Miller irresponsibly prints the story that tips off the killer. Miller also foolishly prints the address of Det. Carelli's fiancée the pretty but hearing-impaired Teddy Franklin, Ellen Parker.
Busting into her apartment the cop killer Marcer, Hal Riddle, finds Teddy alone and waits for Det. Carelli to show up and murder him. Alerting Carelli when Teddy sees the door light go on, thats the way she can tell if someone is ringing since Teddy can't hear. Det.Carelli surprises Macer and after having it out with him beats a confession out of Mercer not only to his killing the three cops but who was really behind and had him do those killings. This is in 1958 before the Supreme Court's passing of the 1966 Miranda decision. For a person to be read his rights and be presented with a lawyer before he says anything.
Fine big city police drama that plays like an episode of "Naked City" but is far far more realistic as well as brutal without being filmed in city of New York, the name New York City is never mentioned in the film. Even though "Cop Hater" does look like it was filmed there.
The early 50's were the era of Jack Webb, police procedure, and the
docu-drama, where law enforcement was portrayed in the best possible
professional light. After all, there was an emerging Cold War to fight.
On the other hand, this late 50's movie, adapted from an Ed McBain
novel, is edging away from that ideal toward a more realistic portrayal
of policing in a city precinct. Dragnet, it ain't.
Too bad that the result comes across as something of a trashy, exploitation flick because there's a good story with several interesting passages plus a neat twist ending buried beneath the tacky titillation. Someone's knocking off cops for no apparent reason, a psycho the detectives figure. So the heat at the precinct is really on with no real suspects. Nonetheless, much of what follows is pretty muddled and hard to follow. It's not an A-grade adaptation or narrative, to say the least.
The way the cops are portrayed is interesting for the time. They knock people around, drink a lot (maybe on duty), and seem sex-starved much of the rest of the time. In short, the detectives appear not that different from most young American males. Given today's relaxed standards, colorful episodes like rousting a street gang or ogling a nude woman in a towel may seem tame, but in 1958, such scenes were quite daring.
The trouble is that too much of the drama and suspense is sacrificed to a lot of cheesecake scenes, which may have sold tickets but do little to advance the story. Too bad, because the acting from a New York cast comes across as unforced and natural, plus the main characters don't look like typical Hollywood types. Even the girls, though sexy, aren't tinsel town perfect.
With a better structured, less exploitative script, the film could have risen above the drive-in level. As the results stand, however, there's not much beyond an historical interest in the evolution of the cop film. Besides, guys can get more titillation by just switching over to the Playboy channel.
"Cop Hater" is an amazing film. After all, it's a cheap production from
Allied Artists featuring complete unknowns at the time---and yet it's
one of the best cop films I have seen. The film excels in realism,
excitement and great twists--and it's a wonderful film for lovers of
noir and those wanting to see future film and TV stars long before they
were stars. In the film, you see lots of familiar faces from the 60s,
70s and beyond--such as Ralph Loggia, Gerald O'Laughlin (a VERY
familiar face in cop shows), Vince Gardinia, Jerry Orbach and Glenn
Cannon (the DA on "Hawaii Five-O"). I can't recommend this film
Because of the title, it's not at all surprising that the film begins with the murder of a cop. This guy is off duty and shot repeatedly in the head with a .45--making the man very, very dead. Who did it and why? There just don't seem to be any leads. Then, when another cop is killed with the same .45, there is the same problem--there just aren't any leads. And, when a third cop is killed, it still isn't a lot clearer. How are they going to solve a crime that just seems so random?! I could say a lot more about the plot, but don't want to give any of it away--just see the movie yourself.
The film is filled with great, realistic acting, wonderful and tough dialog and nice detail when it comes to forensics. It is just written masterfully and it came as a nice surprise. Why the film isn't more famous could only be because it slipped in under the radar when it appeared--with no big names and a paltry budget, it just didn't get noticed. Well, well worth your time.
By the way, there is a deaf character. While she doesn't use a lot of sign language, what she does use I was able to understand--meaning they were real signs. I hated hearing words like 'dummy' in regard to her, but appreciated having a deaf character and one they tried to get right.
I believe these type of gritty police films started around ten years
earlier with "Naked City." There is a lot of nice neo-realism. For
example, a gang leader calls a police captain "Daddy" and he snaps,
"Call me "daddy" again, and you'll be spitting teeth." However, there
are also some really exploitative elements. For example, deaf-mute
Teddy (Ellen Parker) stands around for about five minutes dressed only
in a towel, while the bad guy threatens to kill/rape her.
Robert Loggia is quite likable as the detective who becomes more and more frustrated when he can't quite solve his crime. Ellen Parker does a wonderful job playing his deaf-mute girlfriend. She had a very short acting career doing a few television shows in 1958 and two movies in which she played the fiancé of Robert Loggia in both. It is too bad she disappeared after that. Anybody know what happened to her?
This is a fun little movie, much closer to the street-smart New York "Naked City" television series of the time than the hyper-straight Los Angeles "Dragnet." The film is about as lurid as mainstream films got in 1958.
Check out the great posters. Google "Cop Hater" and search "images." Shirley Ballad looks great in both her leopard skin bathing suit and negligee.
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