Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


THE KILLER IS LOOSE (1956). Director: Budd Boetticher.

When Detective Sam Wagner (Joseph Cotten) goes after Leon Poole (Wendell Corey), who held up a bank, he accidentally shoots the man's wife. When Poole breaks out of jail, he murders everyone in his way as he makes his way to Wagner-- so that he can kill Wagner's wife (Rhonda Fleming). This is a decidedly minor film for all concerned, but it does manage to work up a certain degree of suspense, in large part due to Lionel Newman's taut musical score. Filmed by Lucien Ballard. Alan Hale Jr. of Gilligan's Island is more subdued as another cop. Fleming is okay, but the female acting honors go to Virginia Christine as another cop's wife and friend, and Dee J. Thompson as the wife of Poole's old sergeant (John Larch). Some other familiar faces scattered throughout the movie in bit roles. Not always logical. Cotten is solid although this is not one of his more memorable credits.

Verdict: a respectable if forgettable 73 minutes. **1/2.

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