and that it (along with several other films made in the same time
frame, such as SHIELD FOR MURDER and THE LONG WAIT) consciously ups
the ante on the more brutal aspects of noir's use of violence and
sexual/psychological manipulation--and suggests, as is even more
strongly the case in neo-noir, that the direction society is going
has created an ever-enlarging class of sociopaths."
Including police inspectors, government officials and the all the people we viewers / citizens entrust our well-being and security to.
"Psycho-killers come to the fore in the 50s, and in KMD we sometimes
sense that everyone is tilting toward psychosis."
Now that you mention it this may be a theme in Robert Aldrich's work. I'll have to take another look. In any case that may be what distinguishes the film and what I like about it -- "like" in the sense that it sets the film apart from and perhaps above others of its type.