Kathy leaves the newspaper business to marry homicide detective Bill but is frustrated by his lack of ambition and the banality of life in the suburbs. Her drive to advance Bill's career soon takes her down a dangerous path.
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Carl Martin is a morose and deranged Los Angeles gardener, who,in retribution for the infidelity of his unfaithful wife, sets about to kill as many blonde's as he can. From the time the film opens, to the sound of a radio turned up full-blast over the still-warm corpse of a blonde, the audience knows the identity of the killer. The film depicts, with documentary realism as it was shot on location in and around Los Angeles, how the police, using laboratory techniques against the few clues they have, track down Martin. Their key clue is a spring from a pair of garden shears. The police move in just as Martin is about to add Jane Saunders, the daughter of a greenhouse owner, to his long list of victims. Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Marilee Phelps, who plays Virginia, the undercover policewoman who Carl (Adam Williams) takes on the long ride, was Adam Williams' wife at the time this movie was made. Lee Phelps, the uncredited actor who plays "Doc," the police coroner, was Marilee Phelps' father (and Adam Williams" father-in-law). See more »
The body of the first victim visibly breathes during one shot while the motel manager is outside the room. (a 02:33) See more »
This is a virtually spotless transfer and for Film Noir fans who have to put up with beaten up prints of unjustly forgotten films that alone I think perhaps has lead other writers here to rate the movie a bit too highly. It is a police procedure picture (with a surprising amount of forensics used for the time) that unfortunately comes to an obvious ending that reduces what came before it. It is especially well scored and photographed on real(and unique) locations that make it seem very fresh.
It is like THE SNIPER, though that film deals with wider issues and has a harder edge and most distinct style, where this plays out like a really good episode of something like THE NAKED CITY, or DRAGNET. The ending is safe and small. The characters although well acted are really stock "types" and don't really become three dimensional.
That said the first half of the film is very good and all the positives other writers on IMDb have said are true. But this doesn't ever become a drama, staying safely in melodrama land and that keeps it as mostly by the numbers B picture. Everybody does their job well but also safely within the confines of a programmer. The script just can't let them break out into a real classic noir.
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