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Compulsion (1959)

 -  Biography | Crime | Drama  -  4 May 1959 (Sweden)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 3,118 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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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:

DIANE VARSI in her greatest role since "Peyton Place"! 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

Although top-billed, Orson Welles doesn't appear in the film until one hour and five minutes have passed. 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

 
The Hand of God
17 June 2010 | by (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) – See all my reviews

In 1924, in Chicago, the wealthy and psychotic nihilist law students Judd Steiner (Dean Stockwell) and Arthur Strauss (Bradford Dillman) believe that they can be above the law and commit minor infractions. Their college mate Sid Brooks (Martin Milner) that works for the Chicago Globe is assigned to go to the morgue to see a drowned boy found in Hegewisch Park. He discovers that the boy is actually Paul Kessler, the son of a millionaire that had been kidnapped for ransom. Further, Sid discovers a pair of the glasses with the boy that becomes a lead to the police since it does not fit the victim. When Judd finds that his glasses are evidence for the murder case, he prepares an alibi using his activity of ornithologist and tells that he was picking up girls with Artie driving the Stutz Bearcat of his family. However the astute District Attorney Harold Horn (E.G. Marshall) investigates the case and lures Judd getting his confession. But the Steiner and Strauss families hire the cunning defense attorney Jonathan Wilk (Orson Welles) to defend the perpetrators of the hideous crime. In the beginning of the trial, Wilk surprisingly changes his plea from "not guilty" to "guilty".

Movies of trial are usually engaging and "Compulsion" is not an exception. The dark story based on a true murder case is supported by magnificent performances, highlighting Dean Stockwell and Bradford Dillman in the roles of arrogant and psychotic millionaires that expect to commit a perfect crime and Orson Welles in the lesser but relevant role of a smart lawyer. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Estranha Compulsão" ("Strange Compulsion")


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