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Compulsion (1959)

 -  Biography | Crime | Drama  -  4 May 1959 (Sweden)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 3,102 users  
Reviews: 54 user | 36 critic

Two wealthy law-school students go on trial for murder in this version of the Leopold-Loeb case.

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(screenplay), (based on the novel by)
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Title: Compulsion (1959)

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Jonathan Wilk
...
Ruth Evans
...
...
Arthur A. Straus
...
District Attorney Harold Horn
...
Sid Brooks
...
Max Steiner
Robert F. Simon ...
Police Lt. Johnson (as Robert Simon)
...
Tom Daly
Robert Burton ...
Charles Straus
Wilton Graff ...
Mr. Steiner
Louise Lorimer ...
Mrs. Straus aka 'Mumsy'
...
Padua - Horn's Assistant
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ina Balin ...
Mike's girlfriend (scenes deleted)
Edmund Cobb ...
Policeman (scenes deleted)
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Storyline

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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes murder is just a way to pass the time. See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 May 1959 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Der Zwang zum Bösen  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (FMC Library Print)

Sound Mix:

(35 mm magnetic prints) (Westrex Recording System)| (35 mm optical prints) (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

[first lines]
Judd Steiner: To the perfect crime!
Arthur Straus: Crime. Oh, my wealthy fraternity brothers. 67 dollars, and a second-hand typewriter.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Apartment Zero (1988) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Leopold-Loeb Re-Telling Has Interesting Characters
17 February 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This was pretty interesting, thanks to Bradford Dillman who was excellent as one of the murderers, and to Orson Welles, as defense attorney "Jonathan Wilk." Wells could be such an imposing presence on screen! Interesting, too, that his character was an atheist but in the end admitted he may have been wrong about that.

E.G. Marshall also was fun to watch as the prosecutor, "Dist. Att. Harold Horn," but, of course, the screen writers had him silent in the end only showing Welles state his liberal impassioned anti-death penalty speech at the end.

Dillman and Dean Stockwell were the wise-guys, young arrogant punks who thought they were smarter than anyone else. Dillman held up under pressure but Stockwell was an annoying wimpy wuss who cracked. Diani Varsi playing the lukewarm love interest, adds very little to the film.

Overall, this re-telling of the famous Leopold-Loeb case of the 1920s was worth the watch and recommended. If this kind of story fascinates you, I recommend a similar film: "Rope" (1949).


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