The Killer is Loose | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Killer is Loose 

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Chicago-born Budd Boetticher, who died last November at 85, directed mostly B pictures and television, but as the Film Center's current retrospective proves, he developed an austere yet graceful style perfectly suited to his stoic worldview and shrewd psychological insight. In this taut 1956 noir a meek, bespectacled ex-GI (Wendell Corey in a memorably creepy performance) masterminds a bank holdup, but the police track him down immediately. After his wife is accidentally gunned down by a cop (Joseph Cotten) he vows to avenge her death by killing the cop's wife (Rhonda Fleming, unconvincing in her glamour-puss getups). Boetticher draws some interesting parallels between the two men and packs considerable tension into every scene, aided by Lucien Ballard's crisp, atmospheric cinematography. 73 min. Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State, Monday, April 22, 8:30, and Wednesday, April 24, 6:00, 312-846-2800.

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