The 1956 crime picture, The Killer Is Loose, is standard and harsh and thoughtfully directed by Budd Boetticher.

Herein, Leon Poole (Wendell Cory), a bespectacled “loser,” robs a bank, and, hot to catch him, Detective Sam Wagner (Joseph Cotton) accidentally kills the robber’s wife.  Poole naturally hates the male aggression sometimes inflicted on him, or that he believes is inflicted on him, and it transpires that he is a sociopath.  He wants revenge on Wagner via murdering Wagner’s wife Lila (Rhonda Fleming).

At best Corey’s Poole is interesting, nothing more.  Cotton is fine with his necessary verve and a kind of odd-man-out appeal.  Fleming is a beautiful June Cleaver without kids:  she plays a middle-class wife soothingly and estimably.  Also respectable is John Larch as a man who was in the army with Poole and was insulting to him.  The Killer Is Loose is disposable but worthwhile, its camera consistently trained on the great American suburbs while uncommon pathology stands to the side.