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The Mugger (1958)

 |  Crime, Drama  |  November 1958 (USA)
5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 73 users  
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An unidentified city is plagued by a mysterious mugger who attacks women at night, steals their purses, and cuts them on their left cheek. A police shrink, Dr. Pete Graham, is called in ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Kent Smith ...
Dr. Pete Graham
...
Claire Townsend
...
Eddie Baxter
...
Fats Donner
...
Sergeant Cassidy
...
John Alexander ...
Chief of Police
Arthur Storch ...
Jack Skippy Randolph
Bert Thorn ...
Franklin Corey
Albert Dannibal ...
Officer Connelly
Connie Van Ess ...
Katherine Elio
Dolores Sutton
Sandra Church ...
Jeannie Page
Joan Morgan
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Storyline

An unidentified city is plagued by a mysterious mugger who attacks women at night, steals their purses, and cuts them on their left cheek. A police shrink, Dr. Pete Graham, is called in when one of the mugger's victims turns up dead. Written by Marty McKee <mmckee@wkio.com>

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Crime | Drama

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November 1958 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El mutilador de rostros  »

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Film debut of Renée Taylor. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Watch it for all the little details and fun scenes...not half bad!
2 October 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Mugger (1958)

A weak and low budget flick, but with some genuine looks at the era that a slicker movie wouldn't reveal. In fact, Hollywood is often gauged at having reached its true nadir around 1958, so an honest movie with all kind of flaws has a leg up on the competition.

The story is simple. A mugger has been successful snatching purses from pretty young women in this very small town for some 10 or 11 muggings. And every time he bothers to leave his trademark--a slash with a knife on the woman's face. We naturally hear the testimony from a few of these women, and the acting varies wonderfully (from mediocre to middling, but in many different ways).

Chief investigator, in a twist, is a police psychiatrist. This is the best actor of the bunch, Kent Smith. He played key roles in two classic horror films more than a decade earlier, in "Cat People" and as a doctor in "Spiral Staircase." He's great in those, and in this one too, despite the surrounding cast. As a shrink he's asked to create a profile of the mugger, and decides on some interesting details, including that the man is tormented and when he is caught he's going to be relieved. You'll see if that's true.

Meanwhile some small town details come through, and it's fun to watch even as you wait for some better drama to develop. The muggings themselves even seem a bit routine to watch. One of them is a

The photography is vivid throughout. There is a smattering of dramatic scenes--gambling with a violent end, a steamy sauna scene, a diner scenario with a dizzy blonde, a big dance hall bash, and so on. It's never dull on that level. And Smith is in most of the movie, holding it up. There are a couple of subplots--other crime matters, a young girl who's too shy to meet a boy, that kind of thing. More curious than gripping, but good stuff for the details.

The city is an unknown, and is usually suggested as a medium to small city place. This makes it weird that so many women are walking alone down dark streets when a known mugger is on the loose. But by the end of the movie we are taken up specifically to 236th Street at the D Train stop. Seems like the Bronx to me (that location has been renamed Tim Hendrick Place, if I'm right about this). Anyway, the locations don't quite jive with the small town feel of the rest of it. The final scene is at a ferry dock going to New Jersey, and I think it's a midtown ferry to Weehawken. There were never ferries from the Bronx to New Jersey (mostly because that part of New Jersey is the Palisades park and cliffs), so the final cab ride must take them down the Hudson somewhere (even though the cab seems to be driving north).

Anyway, you can see how the minutia meant more than the overall plot. I enjoyed it despite everything.


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