War vet Leon “Foggy” Poole (Wendell Corey, masking malevolence underneath meekness) plans a bank heist that goes awry; during the ensuing attempt to arrest him, detective Sam Wagner (Joseph Cotton) accidentally kills Poole’s wife. Years later, Poole escapes prison, intent on exacting tit-for-tat revenge by killing Wagner’s spouse (Rhonda Fleming). Budd Boetticher’s The Killer is Loose plays out like some sort of slow-motion fever dream, its wiry, economical camerawork amplifying its anxiously suspenseful atmosphere. The director draws savvy links between his hero and villain, blurring moral distinctions between each man’s devotion to loved ones while also largely preventing pesky plot contrivances – such as Mrs. Wagner stupidly putting herself in harm’s way – from ruining the proficiently paced, shot-on-location action. Most entrancing, however, is the climactic sidewalk showdown between cop, killer and stalked woman, in which Wagner willfully puts work first and wife second and the mild-mannered Poole, a look of psychopathic derangement on his bifocal-adorned face, engages in a bit of devious cross-dressing.