The Sniper (1952) The Psychology Of A Serial Killer’s Mind!

The Sniper (1952) arthur franz film noir thriller poster crosshairsThe fascinating achievement of The Sniper is its ability to take the terrifying nature of the serial killer and portray, in equal amounts, his appalling actions of the murders, intertwined with logical thoughts on his illness and the psychological elements of his mind. Watching now, a film from 1952, you would be wrong in thinking that they would hold back on the darkness of the killings addressed within. Normally we would hear that the individual is either mad, insane or demented, yes that maybe the case but here we get thoughts from the other side. Through the eyes of the killer himself and the mind of a psychiatrist.

The Sniper (1952) arthur franz film noir thriller shooter Edward Dmytryk

Tagline – Hungrily, he watched her walk down the street…and then he squeezed the trigger!

After a series of shootings on the streets of San Francisco resulting in the deaths of brunettes of a certain age, the police frantically try to piece together who the killer could be. The deaths seem to be random, without any noticeable motive. Police Inspector Anderson (Frank Faylen) with the help of Lt. Frank Kafka (Adolphe Menjou) and Sgt. Joe Ferris (Gerald Mohr) are baffled and decide to enlist the help of psychologist Dr. James Kent (Richard Kiley).

The Sniper (1952) Frank Kafka (Adolphe Menjou) Gerald MohrThe Sniper (1952) Sgt. Joe Ferris (Gerald Mohr) news paper headlines

Police Inspector Anderson – “Now we gotta get him and get him quick, if we don’t? Every other loopy in town is gonna jump on the bandwagon and we’ll find ourselves knee deep in a slaughterhouse!”

The Sniper (1952) arthur franz film noir thriller crosshairs

Eddie Miller (Arthur Franz) is a handsome man with a socially awkward but friendly nature to him, almost innocent. He tries to get through life with no issues but a dark foreboding secret waits buried under his skin. Waiting to erupt at a given time when the right catalyst to his anger presents itself. It’s always the same trigger that brings back the demons, fear, hatred and pure anger brought on by women of a certain age, hair colour and that judging tone in their voice. He’ll make them pay the only way he knows, from the barrel of his gun. Eddie Miller is a sniper, a serial killer.

The Sniper (1952) Eddie Miller (Arthur Franz) carnaval ball throwing scene

Eddie knows he has a problem, maybe there’s something wrong in his head. He tries to get people to listen, maybe they can help! What can he do, the urge will return, he will have to kill again. The crazy uncontrollable anger flows over him. He’s tormented and vulnerable at the same time. In desperation he scribbles a note for the police.


The Sniper (1952) Eddie Miller (Arthur Franz) please note help

Can the police and Dr Kent figure out this murderous puzzle? Can they capture Eddie the sniper out before more innocent victims start to stack up on the San Francisco sidewalks. Will Dr Kent be able to decipher the inner workings of the killers mind and find a connection? Can Eddie resist the overwhelming power lust to kill and kill again?

The Sniper (1952) arthur franz film noir thriller shooter

This is such a dark twisted tale but told with a very emotional human edge. It’s shocking, intelligent, well thought out film with a superb cast, especially Arthur Franz in a tough role. It hit me for six, one of those films that slaps you about a bit, managing to crawl itself into your conscience as you sit fascinated, compelled and transfixed. Controversial, shocking and unsettling, especially how convincing Eddie Miller’s psycho can flip between prevailing emotions. It’s a top watch.

The Sniper (1952) Frank Kafka (Adolphe Menjou) Dr. James Kent (Richard Kiley)

I’m slowly and steadily working my way through the excellent director Edward Dmytryk incredible body of work, this is another top quality film to tick off his filmography. Mirage (1965) and Crossfire (1947) have been others I’ve highly rated. Still have lots of his to go, can you believe I’m still to see Murder, My Sweet? Must make amends soon.

The Sniper (1952) police line suspects

If you made it this far, I thank you for reading my scribbles. Is The Sniper one you’ve seen? What did you think? Or maybe you might be intrigued to go find it? I hope so, please pop back with what you thought if you do. All the best.. Mikey Wolf

13 thoughts on “The Sniper (1952) The Psychology Of A Serial Killer’s Mind!

  1. Love this one, Mikey! Lots of great noir images, but I really liked the guy up on the smokestack, and how he gets everyone’s attention. Very darn cool. As for Edward Dmytryk, I seem to remember liking ‘Warlock’, a Western from 1959.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Todd. Yes you so right that chimney abseiling scene was incredible. The way he feel too, those stunt men worked for there money hey!!!
      The images in Sniper are noir gold.
      Off to investigate “Warlock”. I’m loving working my way through Edward Dmytryk work. Seen a fair few now but loads to go. “Mirage” might just pip the top spot for me! Difficult though when he’s made so many brilliant movies.


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