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Compulsion (1959)

 -  Biography | Crime | Drama  -  4 May 1959 (Sweden)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 3,121 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:

THEIRS WAS THE PERFECT CRIME they thought! They were too sure...too smart...too careful to leave a clue -- but they did! and it exploded -- The shocking story of two teenagers out for kicks...looking for thrills...and finding them! 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

Made in 1959, some 35 years after the real murder. 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

Featured in 20th Century-Fox: The First 50 Years (1997) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Mostly involving film with sensational performances by main characters and supporting cast
22 January 2007 | by See all my reviews

The film deal with two young men who murder a pal. They are law students and followers of Nietsche theories . They are investigated by an astute coroner (E.G.Marshall) . He's growing suspicion but there isn't one perfect crime . But the justice to be executed and they go on trial for killing . A famous lawyer (Orson Welles) will defend them under accusation of murderers and under death penalty . A young girl(Diane Varsi) will testify for them .

This highly interesting film is inspired on real events about Leopold-Lob killing case in Chicago of the 1920s . The film contains suspense , drama, tension , illicit love with intertwining triangles ,emotion , courtroom trial and complex intrigue maintained throughout. Besides superb performances by main roles ( Dillman, Stockell, Varsi, Welles ) and supporting casting ( Martin Milner, Robert F. Simon, Gavin McLeod among others ). Special mention to Orson Welles with a terrific acting and explaining a significant speech into criminal court . The movie is visually magnificent with an excellent black and white cinematography by William C. Mellor . Evocative and adjusted music by Lionel Newman . The motion picture is wonderfully directed by Richard Fleischer . Other versions about same events are the famous ¨The rope¨ by Hithcock with John Dall (in the character of Bradford Dillman )and Farley Granger (in the role of Dean Stockwell), ¨Swoon¨ and recently ¨Murder by numbers¨ by Barbet Schroeder with Michael Pitt and Ryan Gosling . Indispensable and fundamental seeing for court genre enthusiasts and Orson Welles fans . It's one of Richard Fleisher's best. Rating : Above average .


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