Movie Review: The Killer is Loose (1956)

Synopsis: When a savings and loan is robbed by men who seem to know the bank a little too well, Lt. Sam Wagner figures out a mild-mannered bank teller, Leon Poole, was an inside man and he, along with other police officers, corner Poole in his apartment. Believing he is alone; they enter a shootout with Poole and Wagner accidentally kill's Poole's wife. Two years later, Poole escapes prison and seeks to get revenge by murdering Wagner's wife.

Who's in it? The movie stars Joseph Cotten, Wendall Corey, Rhonda Fleming, John Beradino and Alan Hale, Jr.

Review: I came across this movie a couple days ago and, thinking it sounded interesting, added it to my library. I had a chance to watch it earlier today and it turned out to be a good choice.

There were a couple things about this movie I liked in particular. One of the main ones as the antagonist, Poole (Corey). He was a character that was insane enough to make his scenes unpredictable and intense but also mild-mannered enough where it was easy to underestimate him. Movies like this are only as good as their bad guy and I don't think this film could have done any better.

The scene at his ex-friend's house was a great example of this, especially the way he treated the man's wife (Dee J. Thompson) in a way that made it seem like he was trying to be polite to her but couldn't quite figure out how to interact with her without scaring her. I didn't know if he would end up killing her or leave without harming her.

Another thing I liked about this movie was the interaction between Wagner (Cotten) and his wife, Lila (Fleming) and how the situation was putting a strain on their marriage. It was a bit of realism I honestly wasn't expecting to see in a movie like this. At minimum, she turned out to be a solid wild card that made the ending a lot less predictable, especially when she found out the truth about who Poole was really targeting and still decided to put herself in harm's way.

I also have to say I enjoyed the ending to this film more than expected because the filmmakers did a great job building up the tension to the point I was on the edge of my seat. It might have been slightly better had it given the relationship storyline a little more closure, but I still thought it was a great way to end what turned out to be a great movie.

Final Opinion: This movie more than lived up to my expectations and was a great thriller that was also surprisingly emotional. I would recommend it.

My Grade: A


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