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The Sniper (1952)

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A sniper kills young brunettes as the police attempt to grapple with the psychology of the unknown assailant.

Director:

Edward Dmytryk

Writers:

Harry Brown (screen play), Edna Anhalt (story) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
640 ( 9,416)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Adolphe Menjou ... Police Lt. Frank Kafka
Arthur Franz ... Edward Miller
Gerald Mohr ... Police Sgt. Joe Ferris
Marie Windsor ... Jean Darr
Frank Faylen ... Police Insp. Anderson
Richard Kiley ... Dr. James G. Kent
Mabel Paige ... Landlady
Marlo Dwyer ... May Nelson
Geraldine Carr Geraldine Carr ... Checker
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Storyline

Apparently rejected by women all his life, a loner with a high-power rifle starts on a trail of murder. The police are baffled by the apparently random killings until their psychologist comes up with some ideas. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Hungrily, he watched her walk down the street...and then he squeezed the trigger! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 August 1952 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

El Francotirador See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Some modern sources erroneously identify the uncredited pants presser as Wally Cox; the name of the lesser known actor playing this role is George Stern. See more »

Goofs

Miller takes a full beer out of the refrigerator and takes one sip, but in the next shot, 80% of the bottle is empty. See more »

Quotes

Police Insp. Anderson: [noticing that curious onlookers are sticking their heads out of nearby windows] You know, some solid citizens are gonna' get their brains blown out if they don't pull their heads in... not that they got any brains to begin with.
Police Lt. Frank Kafka: Why don't you tell 'em?
Police Insp. Anderson: I'm waiting for the sound truck...
Police Insp. Anderson: [Sound truck has arrived, Anderson comes over the loudspeakers] This is Inspector Anderson speaking. Will the people please get their heads out of their windows? I repeat: get your heads out of the windows. There...
See more »

Crazy Credits

A word about the picture which follows: High among police problems is that of the sex criminal, responsible last year alone for offenses which victimized 31,175 women. Adequate and understanding laws do not exist. Law enforcement is helpless. Here, in terms of one case, is the story of a man whose enemy was womankind. See more »

Connections

Referenced in America's Sweethearts (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Pennies from Heaven
(uncredited)
Music by Arthur Johnston
Words by Johnny Burke (1936)
Played by Marie Windsor in piano bar
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Undeservedly obscure noir
11 January 2003 | by marker28See all my reviews

Interesting noir from veteran director Dmytryk. Arthur Franz gives a good twitchy, sweaty performance as a sex criminal released from prison for assaulting women, only to be compelled to kill them with a stolen military rifle once free, and silent star Adolphe Menjou is the police officer in charge of stopping Franz's crime spree. As lurid as the subject matter is, the film's approach to it is admirably serious and even-handed, especially when contrasted to that taken by other films about serial killers. For example, Fritz Lang's noir "While the City Sleeps", made around the same time, features a character similar to Franz's as its villian (a disturbed young killer with a mother fixation, who leaves messages for the police urging them to catch him), but its portrayal of the murderer is comically overwrought in comparison. Some of the psychological shorthand used to illustrate Franz's fractured psyche may appear naive to contemporary audiences (stroking his phallic rifle in anticipation to his murders, wincing in pain when he passes a mother slapping her child on the street), but he's a much more realistic and credible criminal than the overheated creations that populate recent films about the same subject (Seven, Hannibal Lecter trilogy, etc). The film's sober and non-sensational tone can be attributed partly to producer Stanley Kramer; the redeeming social message that is commonly found in his films creeps into this one through the character of a police psychologist, who gives a speech about the need to change the laws that deal with sex criminals (not a lot has changed since the time this movie was released - so much for the redeeming social message). Dmytryk's direction is typically stylish (why did it become so turgid later on?), and he makes excellent use of San Francisco locations. The finale, where the police finally close in on the sniper is particularly well done, with one sequence standing out as especially memorable and effective: a construction worker gives the sniper away as he's about to claim another victim, and discovers too late that its a bad idea to cross a psychopath with a long distance rifle, especially when in the not very convenient position of dangling from a smokestack. The cast is strong, and includes a welcome appearance by B-movie fave Marie Windsor, as a bar pianist who ends up as the sniper's first victim. Nominated for an Oscar for best screenplay, "The Sniper" is fairly obscure compared to other noirs and is unavailable on video - it's really worth catching during one of its occaisonal appearances on cable TV.


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