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February 03, 2011

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warren oates

Not reading the post yet, as I just got the disc yesterday. Can't wait to watch it. Seems exactly like the kind of half-forgotten dirty little noir I've been in love with discovering lately -- MURDER BY CONTRACT, PUSHOVER. The writer and director would be enough to get me excited, but THE PROWLER also has so many distinguished and interesting fans like Eddie Muller, James Ellroy and now you too GK.

C. Jerry

A policeman who shoots an unarmed fleeing suspect would be a "bad cop," but here the suspect is a "bad cop," so there's a certain irony there.

Graig

You realize that there is a 1981 THE PROWLER directed by Joseph Zito that I just came thisclose to adding to my queue, right?

bill

This sort of off-procedural shooting is very common in film noir, as I'm sure everybody who watches those movies knows. Not to rain on the parade -- I truly like your take, Glenn -- but remember Robert Ryan's death in CROSSFIRE? Not just against procedure, but one frickin' hell of a shot!

My favorite clean, justified shot in film noir is at the end of HE WALKS BY NIGHT, which is pretty much a perfect film anyway.

Glenn Kenny

No raining inferred, Bill; your point is well-taken. I believe what makes this particular fall stand out more than usual is, again, the rather ridiculous scramble to the top of the man-made hill, as if that's gonna accomplish anything, and the airy sunlit openness of the whole thing.

jbryant

SPOILERS

Saw this late last year when TCM ran the UCLA print (also saw it many years ago, but didn't remember many details). Excellent film; fascinating in many ways. Until the coroner's inquest scene, it seems to take place in a Los Angeles with a population of about four. Unlike the usual noir set-up, the central couple isn't plotting together -- though Keyes constantly seems to be fighting suspicions, Heflin plays her like a violin. Unfortunately, this relegates Keyes to a rather unvaried victim role, and she's too dim, gullible and weak to root for. But Losey keeps the screws turning, and the film survives an unusual change in tone and setting to reach a tense climax. Films of this era didn't typically focus on the moral bankruptcy of a seeming "regular Joe," but Heflin nails the cop's every contradiction. One of his best roles, for sure.

otherbill

@ Graig- depending on your threshold for 80s slashers, THE PROWLER (1981) is not half bad. Some of Savini's best work. And Lawrence Tierney!

Of course, it's not a patch on the film under discussion. A couple of friends and I treated the TCM premier as appointment viewing and we were floored. I'd always enjoyed Heflin, but I gained a whole new respect for him with this film. He's just amazing in every single scene.

Unkle Rusty

The answer to the question "Make it where, exactly?" is, metaphorically and as far as The Prowler is concerned, probably "to the top of the Class Ladder, Ma." For The Prowler (and Garwood) seethes with class jealousy throughout.

Asher

Well, I don't think CROSSFIRE's killing questions the police's authority, like this one does. But then, I don't think CROSSFIRE has anything to say other than that anti-Semitism is really lousy. Mitchum's really wasted in that movie.

jbryant

Mitchum may be wasted in CROSSFIRE (and you do mean as in "underutilized," not "smashed" or "stoned," right?), but one can't say the same of Paul Kelly's deliciously creepy/funny performance as Gloria Grahame's boyfriend/husband/stalker/pimp or some combination thereof. He has a weirdly calm, apologetic manner that seems liable to explode at any moment. Quite compelling.

brian p

what unkle rusty said. Webb is oh so close to the next social strata, metaphorically, but no. his dream of ascension is also blunted a few scenes earlier by the recorded, disembodied voice of the man he murdered. fantastic film, a noir where the schlub is the woman and the scheming conniver is the man

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