London, 1949. John Christie is an unassuming, middle aged man who, along with his wife Ethel, manages the apartment building at 10 Rillington Place. His unassuming demeanor masks the fact ... See full summary »
In 1924 Chicago, Artie Strauss and Judd Steiner are friends and fellow law students who both come from wealthy backgrounds. They have few true friends as they believe all their contemporaries are intellectually inferior. Within their relationship, Artie is the dominant and Judd the submissive who says he will do whatever Artie tells him. Although Judd acts intellectually arrogant to others, he also shows signs of weakness and reticence most evident to Artie. Part of their goal in life is to experience how it feels to do everything. As such, they plot to commit what they consider the perfect crime - a kidnapping and murder - not only so that they can experience the sense of killing for killing's sake, but also taunt the law with the knowledge of it and their superiority after the fact. They believe their crime is above the law. Their murder of young Paulie Kessler is not so perfect, with evidence at the scene uncovered by one of their law school colleagues, Sid Brooks, who also works ... Written by
In his treatment of the Leopold-Loeb case, Rope (1948), Alfred Hitchcock used his famous "ten-minute takes" and segued from one to the other with a "natural wipe" generally focusing on the back of one of the character's suit jackets. Perhaps as an homage to The Master, this film's director, Richard Fleischer, uses a "natural wipe" focusing on the front of Bradford Dillman's suit to end a scene. See more »
When D.A. Horn is interviewing Straus, Horn sits down in a chair that was meant for Staus and moves a floor lampshade back down that had been directing its light at that chair. Staus moves to stand beside the floor lamp. The light is then variably on and off as shots between the two change. See more »
In many respects, I thought this was a movie that was far ahead of its time. In some ways, it's a psychological study of why some people turn to evil without any apparent remorse. It's also an anti-capital punishment argument in a time when capital punishment was both accepted and non-controversial. It deals with subject matters that I wouldn't normally expect to see in a movie of this era, and it's a very taut psychological thriller that wouldn't bore anyone.
Dean Stockwell, in my opinion, was the clear highlight of the film. He offered an amazing portrayal of Judd Steiner, the seemingly emotionless one of the murderous duo (the other was Bradford Dillman as Arthur Strauss.) Steiner and Strauss are basically rich, spoiled kids who decide to take up killing for the fun and excitement involved. The movie revolves around the investigation into the murder of a young boy, and then the trial of the two. Stockwell and Dillman made an interesting combination. In the beginning, Strauss is portrayed as the one in charge, with Steiner uncertain and nervous. By the end, Steiner is transformed into a hard as nails and cold as ice monster. The evolution of that relationship is fascinating.
There were aspects of the story that didn't work for me. Ruth (Diane Varsi) came across as far too forgiving of Judd after her encounter with him, and frankly, the rather long-winded speech by Orson Welles (playing attorney Jonathon Wilk) to the judge at the end of the movie was too long-winded, even though I agreed with some of it. (Modern studies of capital punishment would call into question Wilk's statement that only rich kids would die for this kind of crime; in fact, it's overwhelmingly the poor who are sentenced to death.) I thought the movie also opened with a musical score and what we would call today fonts for the credits that were entirely inappropriate, and which seemed to almost set this up as some sort of comedy. It's not. It's deadly serious, and very good. 7/10
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