17 August 2015

The Sniper


The Sniper: Eddie Miller is a sick man.  He wants to kill women.  Why does he want to kill women?  This 40 seconds long clip explains:
video

So, in summary, women are shitty mothers AND cheap whores.

Eddie knows he's sick.  He's got a sniper's rifle in his chest of drawers.  He keeps it locked away.  But every now and then he brings it out and aims through his boarding house window at the she-devils on the street below.  He fights off the urge to kill. . .at one point even going so far as self-harm: he burns his trigger hand on a hot plate.  He goes to a hospital for help, not only for his burned hand, but also his burned mind.  But he only gets help for his hand.

The hyper-tense Eddie ekes out his loner's existence as a delivery man for a dry cleaner.  One of his customers is a typical noir film type, a brick shithouse lounge entertainer, who makes the mistake of being nice to Eddie, only to ruin it by revealing she already has a boyfriend.  Fucking bitch.  She becomes Eddie-the-Sniper's first victim.  

The murder lifts Eddie's spirits.  We see him smiling and looking relaxed in a bar, he even catches the eye of an another typical noir type, a cheap barfly.  Eddie might actually get a piece of ass!  He shoots the breeze with her, until she starts asking personal questions, and he piles one stupid lie on top of another, until even the cheap barfly smells a rat.  She gives Eddie a piece of her mind, and storms out.  Eddie-the-Sniper's second victim.

Up to this point, The Sniper is a quick-moving, engrossing character study of a woman-hating psycho.  Arthur Franz plays Eddie Miller, and does a fine job of portraying an everyman desperately trying to contain a powder keg of hate.  Unfortunately, the film bogs down as it become more-and-more police procedural. The cops are uninteresting characters and are badly acted, particularly by Gerald Mohr, who plays Sgt. Joe Ferris in a poor Humphrey Bogart impersonation.  Even worse, there is an excruciatingly unfunny *comedy relief* sequence as peeping toms and rapists are brought in for a bizarre group questioning.

And, in something that would never appear in a contemporary film, this 1952 b movie features the character Dr. James Kent, a kind of primitive criminal profiler, who blames society for not identifying and helping sick people like Eddie.  Sixty-three years later and this is a lesson lost on an AmerICKa in which any mentally unstable soul can get a gun easier than he can get psychological help.  

At any rate, two late scenes rescue The Sniper from a fall into tedium.  A carnival scene, in which Eddie loses control and menaces a couple of carnies, and the finale in which a withered Eddie waits for the police to put him out of his misery.  All-in-all, not too bad.

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