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The Sniper (1952)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir | 7 August 1952 (Denmark)
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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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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:

To the police - stop me. Find me and stop me. I'm going to do it again. 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

In an early example of product placement, Arthur Franz as Eddie Miller drinks a Blatz beer from Marie Windsor's refrigerator. See more »

Goofs

In Mayors office with Liddele, the of the street (Van Ness Avenue), there is an electric bus and people waiting at the crosswalk in the picture they used for outside of the window. Obviously, the Bus nor people ever move. 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 A Tribute to Stanley Kramer (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Plaisir d'amour
(uncredited)
Music by Johann Martini
Played by Marie Windsor in piano bar
See more »

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User Reviews

It's not Ducks He's Shooting
25 January 2008 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

The trouble is Eddie Miller (Arthur Franz) just can't keep himself from shooting women. Plus, he does it from a distance with a sniper's rifle which makes him doubly hard to catch. Today, the sex angle would likely be played up, turning him into a serial rapist. Here, however, his sick motivation looks more like pure rage than sexual desire. Everywhere he goes, he's either humiliated or rejected by women. He's attractive enough (probably too much so to be credible), but he has a personality problem. In short, Eddie simply can't accept himself as a deliveryman; instead, he builds himself up with obvious exaggerations to impress strangers, such that when pretty barfly May Nelson approaches, he ends up offending her with wild stories. Like Psycho's Norman Bates, the problem probably goes all the way back to Mom.

It's certainly a very watchable movie. The San Francisco locations are used to great effect-- the cops surveilling downtown rooftops from on high sets up a marvelous panoramic look at the city. Then too, the smokestack scene with its human fly amounts to pure cinematic magic. A problem in the film lies with too much obviousness where a lighter hand is needed. Thus, when Eddie goes on a little downtown stroll, he doesn't encounter just one woman-caused frustration, but a whole heavy-handed series of them. Too bad, because we get the idea early on that petty annoyances involving women amount to major injuries in Eddie's twisted world. Then there's the let's- hit-you-over-the-head-in-case-you-don't-get-it last scene; it's about as necessary as strip-poker at a nudist colony. Still and all, the movie's heart is in the right place, even if it appears made at times for the slow-witted.

One big benefit for 50's-era fans is cult favorite Marie Windsor in a low-cut evening gown, purring her seductive lines to Eddie even as she exploits him to the hilt. What a great cameo from a really unusual actress.Too bad their scene together comes so early because it's a pip and a movie high point. Speaking of film eras, compare the themes and locations of this movie (1951) with the cinematically similar, Vietnam-era Dirty Harry (1971). Tellingly, the hopeful reformism that Kramer&Co. plead for in Sniper has been replaced by a kind of hopeless vigilantism where Harry (Clint Eastwood) ends up rejecting city hall, killing the sniper, and throwing away his policeman's badge. Mark it down to what you will, but the change-over is pretty stark and startling. Anyway, this little B-film created quite a stir at the time and remains an interesting piece of movie history, well worth thinking about


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