Wednesday, October 16, 2013

1952 - THE SNIPER, the psycho killer on the loose 1950's version.

An attempt to dramatize a story about a deeply disturbed Army veteran, The Sniper is finally done in by the conventions of 1950's attitudes about mental illness. 

Arthur Franz is the psycho shooter who has a real hatred of women. In fact he hates them so much he decides to get rid of them.  He's sort of an early version of Norman Bates without the stuffed body in the cellar.  The police have to get Franz before he pops more women which is probably the most interesting aspect of the film.  The on location photography in San Francisco and the police investigation of the killings are also quite interesting.

However the least successful element of the film is the very dated psychoanalysis of the killer's mind by a police psychologist attempting to help the police understand his motives.  At one point the psychologist makes an earnest plea for locking up anyone who even remotely has some kind of deviant thought.  If you think about it, that would be most of the population of this country.

For all the overblown pseudo psychoanalysis, the film actually ends on a tense and understated note.  It's unfortunate that the rest of the film couldn't have been used this approach.

87 minutes.

No comments: