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.
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