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THE SNIPER (1952)


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I think this is one of my favorite noirs from the fifties-- and certainly my favorite Columbia noir. Impeccable cast, sharp direction, and very suspenseful story.

 

Well of the cast I think Arthur Franz is pretty bland in the title role. The part called for a much edgier, unsettling presence. Franz is his usual grimly stonefaced self.

 

He is memorable in the classic and unexpected last shot, however.

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Well of the cast I think Arthur Franz is pretty bland in the title role. The part called for a much edgier, unsettling presence. Franz is his usual grimly stonefaced self.

 

He is memorable in the classic and unexpected last shot, however.

Dmytryk directed Franz nine times between 1952 and 1975. 

 

The opening shot, where he pulls the drawer out and we see the rifle, is just as great as the final shot. It's a chilling story from start to finish.

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Dmytryk directed Franz nine times between 1952 and 1975. 

 

The opening shot, where he pulls the drawer out and we see the rifle, is just as great as the final shot. It's a chilling story from start to finish.

 

I think director Dmytryk had Franz give a bland performance on purpose and to me it really works.   The type of mental illiness he had called for a bland type performance.    He didn't get a big thrill from this killing.   He was full of guilt but just couldn't stop.  

 

So the role didn't call for an early Widmark type of performance.    

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I think director Dmytryk had Franz give a bland performance on purpose and to me it really works.   The type of mental illiness he had called for a bland type performance.    He didn't get a big thrill from this killing.   He was full of guilt but just couldn't stop.  

 

So the role didn't call for an early Widmark type of performance.    

Completely agree.  It helped that it wasn't a showy or over-the-top performance. He could easily have been the guy next door, that's what is so grim about it.

 

My favorite part, though, is not the ending. It happens maybe fifteen minutes or so before the end of the movie. It's where he fires the rifle at the man painting the tall tower/chimney. The guy must have been 12 stories up. At first, when the painter is hit, he falls rather slowly-- then in the last few feet, he plummets quickly to the ground. It's very shocking. 

 

In fact, I think this part of THE SNIPER is more harrowing to watch than anything in VERTIGO where Hitchcock often uses process shots. Talk about dizzying heights! And the way it's staged with Franz's character watching from the bottom left hand corner of the frame-- seeing that he's brought the painter done with such a sudden act of violence-- sends chills down your spine. What great stunt work.

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My favorite part, though, is not the ending. It happens maybe fifteen minutes or so before the end of the movie. It's where he fires the rifle at the man painting the tall tower/chimney. The guy must have been 12 stories up. At first, when the painter is hit, he falls rather slowly-- then in the last few feet, he plummets quickly to the ground. It's very shocking. 

 

 

I haven't seen the film for some time, but that scene would be true to the real life situation. At around 12 stories high, a body would hit the ground after around 2.75 seconds, with its velocity increasing every second by a factor of 32.  So the body would definitely speed up as it approached the ground. At the one-second mark, the body would be moving at 32 feet per second, and just before it hit the ground, it would be  zipping along at around 88 feet per second. Somebody knew what they were doing when they filmed that scene.

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Oh Boo Hoo you guys are revealing spoilers, lol. I caught the last minutes of this and liked it, will watch the rest tomorrow.

 

If one doesn't want to read about spoilers related to a specific movie they haven't seen one shouldn't go to thread that was created for a specific movie.   Posters don't need to label each post with 'spoiler alert' since the entire thread has 'spoiler alert' implied.

 

But I believe you were joking, so I hope there was 'no harm, no foul'.    Check out the movie.   I saw it for the first time (on MOVIES a few weeks back),  and I already knew the ending since I read about it in the book Film Noir.   That didn't impact my enjoyment of the film.

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