I had planned to have a Region 2 Cinema review up today but I was distracted this afternoon by TCM’s scheduling of The Sniper (1952), a noir (which I had not seen) featuring Arthur Franz as a too-tightly-wound loner who embarks on a killing spree of females because…well, let’s just Artie’s a bit “funny in the head.” I unfortunately missed the first ten minutes (mistakenly thinking the movie started at 2:45 instead of 2:30pm) but what I did get to see was a taut little suspenser (directed by HUAC fink Edward Dmytryk) that contains a superb cast and was shot on impressive San Francisco locations (which physically complement Franz’s vertiginous state of mind).
The cops chasing after Franz are Adolphe Menjou (whose character’s last name, believe it or don’t, is “Kafka”)—who does a surprisingly good job as a plainclothes dick, sans moustache—and OTR vet Gerald Mohr (“Get this and get it straight…”), with an assist from Frank “Herbert T. Gillis” Faylen and Richard Kiley as a cop psychiatrist. Dark City Dame Marie Windsor is Franz’s first victim, and if by some off-chance they ever decided to film a biopic on Marie they wouldn’t need to look any further than actress Ileana Douglas for the starring role. I don’t normally like to ruin the endings of movies for those who haven’t seen them but the last shot of this film is quite unsettling; a close-up of Franz sitting on his bed, gun on his lap…and a tear rolling down his cheek. (I thought for a second there someone had chucked some trash out of a car window.) A few other familiar faces also pop up in this movie: TDOY OTR fave John Brown, Dudley Dickerson (he’s got just one line but I was pleased to see he didn’t have to resort to the negative stereotypes he was frequently saddled with in the Columbia comedy shorts), Byron Foulger, Charles Lane (as a barfly!), Jay Novello, Karen Sharpe and Victor Sen Yung.
I will lay some interesting Region 2 news on you; in previously writing about The Best Man (1964), I was unhappy about the film’s availability on DVD but all that will change when Optimum Home Entertainment releases the Henry Fonda-Cliff Robertson political drama to Region 2 next Monday (October 20th). I’ve had to tighten my belt re: DVD purchases as of recent but I’m sort of leaning toward securing a copy of this since I did so enjoy the movie. Amazon.co.uk has it available for £9.74 but Sendit.com has an even better deal and I think they ship it cheaper as well.