The Killer is Loose is a short but sweet film noir from 1956. It doesn’t look to be viewed as much as other films with this amount of star power. This stars noir legend Joseph Cotten and femme fatale great Rhonda Fleming.
This is a tension filled hour and 15 minute movie, with a simple plot that raises the bar with the great performances.
Our story starts with a very smart bank robbery, to smart. The police force discovers clues showing it is an inside job. This narrows down the suspect list to one Foggy Poole. Soon a raid on Poole’s apartment is organized and Poole is not going down without a fight. When the police break the door down and with the lights off our hero, Detective Sam Wagner played by Cotton jumps in and sees movement, he fires…and kills Poole’s wife by mistake. Poole goes to trial and is found guilty for the bank job. He vows revenge on Wagner by promising to taking the life of his wife, Lila, played by Fleming. A few years go by and Poole escapes prison. This is where the story takes off, everybody knows Poole will be coming for our hero and his wife, but will he succeed? What will he do to get revenge on his wife’s killer?
Foggy Poole is a very creepy psychopath played amazingly by Wendell Corey. Foggy is a killing machine with above average intelligence. Are we seeing the roots of future serial killers like Hannibal Lecter and Norman Bates?
Michael Pate and Alan Hale Jr.(The Skipper from Gilligan’s Island) both play smaller parts as police officers but still stand out. This film is directed by Budd Boetticher who is more known for his western films, but did very well in this dark crime film.
I really liked this film! The ending was a little abrupt, and some of the characters make some decisions that don’t exactly make sense. The story is simple but the tension builds all the way to the end. Recommended for any Cotton and Fleming fans and if you like Wendell Corey you will love this film.