A sniper kills young brunettes as the police attempt to grapple with the psychology of the unknown assailant.A sniper kills young brunettes as the police attempt to grapple with the psychology of the unknown assailant.A sniper kills young brunettes as the police attempt to grapple with the psychology of the unknown assailant.
Franz paints us a portrayal of a socially challenged man who just can't get anywhere with the opposite sex. He conceives a pathological hatred of all women and an innocent encounter with a nightclub performer played by Marie Windsor finally triggers him off.
After that Franz is on a rampage, killing women almost at random from various San Francisco rooftops. The film was shot on location in San Francisco and The Sniper bears a whole lot of resemblance to The Naked City where Jules Dassin made New York's mean streets as much a star as the human players. Director Edward Dmytryk does the same for San Francisco.
And the cops here are much like Barry Fitzgerald and Don Taylor from that film. Watching the film I wonder how much persuasion it took to get Adolphe Menjou to shave off that famous wax mustache of his, a remnant of fashion from a bygone era. It certainly wouldn't have gone with his role as a homicide cop. But the voice is distinctive and Menjou put it over. Acting as his younger sidekick is Gerald Mohr.
What's ironic in The Sniper is that the whole thing is a desperate cry for help to a world to busy to care. The minor key ending of The Sniper brings that point home quite vividly.
The Sniper is a noir classic, not as glamorous as Dirty Harry Callahan's pursuit of another twisted individual through San Francisco, but a whole lot more realistic.
- Feb 16, 2011