37 user 29 critic

The Killer Is Loose (1956)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 3 February 1956 (USA)
An unhinged, deceptively mild-mannered bank robber escapes prison, seeking revenge on the cop who accidentally killed his wife during a gun battle.


Budd Boetticher


Harold Medford (screenplay), John Hawkins (from a story by) | 1 more credit »




Complete credited cast:
Joseph Cotten ... Detective Sam Wagner
Rhonda Fleming ... Lila Wagner
Wendell Corey ... Leon 'Foggy' Poole
Alan Hale Jr. ... Denny (as Alan Hale)
Michael Pate ... Detective Chris Gillespie
John Larch ... Otto Flanders
Dee J. Thompson Dee J. Thompson ... Grace Flanders
John Beradino ... Mac
Virginia Christine ... Mary Gillespie
Paul Bryar ... Greg Boyd


A savings-and-loan bank is robbed; later, a police wiretap identifies teller Leon Poole as inside man. In capturing him, detective Sam Wagner accidentally kills Poole's young wife, and at his trial Poole swears vengeance against Wagner. About three years later, Poole (until then a model prisoner) abruptly takes his chance to kill a guard and escape. It's clear during the ensuing manhunt that Poole is obsessed in pursuit of a single end; but not quite the end everyone supposes. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Story of a Cop Who Used His Wife as Bait for a Killer! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


When the police cars are shown at the roadblock, they are clearly Highway Patrol vehicles. Afterwards, Wagner is shown meeting with State Policemen. See more »


Detective Sam Wagner: Could've been worse, Poole.
Leon 'Foggy' Poole: It was worse, remember? I remember.
Detective Chris Gillespie: Poole, we tried to explain.
Leon 'Foggy' Poole: Someday, Wagner, I'm gonna settle with you for it. I'm certainly gonna settle with you for it.
See more »


Referenced in Trapped Ashes (2006) See more »

User Reviews

A Tale of Things to Come
27 June 2012 | by LeonLouisRicciSee all my reviews

By the Mid 1950's the Stylish, Expressionistic, and Piercing Pictures called Film-Noir were Out of Favor because of the Less Pessimistic Persona of a Suburban Saturated Society that began to heavily Influence American Pop Culture.

The Urban Environment was becoming increasingly more Lower Class and that generally is unattractive to Movie Audiences of the Main Stream who were now, more than ever, Isolating Themselves in a Coating of a Prefabricated Paradise.

This Film was one that Transplanted the Noir Sensibility out of the City and in to Nice Homes with Lawns and Shiny Kitchen Appliances, TV sets, and Marital Myopia.

But Uh-Oh, Not as Safe as it Seems. "The Killer is Loose" and He is about to Upset "Utopia".

The Director's (Budd Bottechier) Edgy Style combined with a very Convincing Cross-Dressing, Catatonic who Talks to Himself and Viciously and Violently acts in a Detached, very Modern Serial-Killer Sociopathic Trance is Disturbingly Delivered and the Shadows in the Post-Modern Soul cannot be Illuminated by the Brightly Lit "Fenced" Community and all of its Electric Eccentricities.

A Tale of Things to Come.

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Release Date:

3 February 1956 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Killer Is Loose See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Crown Productions (II) See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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