Looking over our PopMatters articles of films directed by Joseph Losey, we seek to correct our unfortunate oversight of The Prowler, even if only in a hasty and perfunctory manner for the record. Restored by the Film Noir Foundation and UCLA Film & TV Archive to almost shockingly crisp state, this Los Angeles noir proved a major rediscovery when issued on DVD in 2011.
Van Heflin gives a great performance as a moral vacuum in a police uniform, griping about his “lousy breaks”. With sinister efficiency he spies upon, stalks, and manipulates lonely trophy wife (Evelyn Keyes) until he gets everything he wants. But what of the hell he carries inside? He carries the seeds of his own desperate, grasping, clammy doom as forthrightly as any of the narrators of Jim Thompson’s contemporaneous pulp novels, some of which also feature corrupt lawmen. The less you know before going into this gripping story, the better.