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The Boston Strangler (1968)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 16 October 1968 (USA)
A series of brutal murders in Boston sparks a seemingly endless and increasingly complex manhunt.

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Writers:

(screenplay), (book)
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Det. Phil DiNatale
...
Julian Soshnick
...
Terence Huntley
...
Det. Frank McAfee
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John Asgeirsson
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Dianne Cluny
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Atty. Gen. Edward W. Brooke
...
Peter Hurkos
Leora Dana ...
Mary Bottomly
Carolyn Conwell ...
Irmgard DeSalvo
...
Cloe
Austin Willis ...
Dr. Nagy
...
Bobbie Eden
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Storyline

Boston is being terrorized by a series of seemingly random murders of women. Based on the true story, the film follows the investigators path through several leads before introducing the Strangler as a character. It is seen almost exclusively from the point of view of the investigators who have very few clues to build a case upon. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

This is the true story of Albert DeSalvo, the self-confessed Boston Strangler, and of what he did to thirteen women and one city. See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 October 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Frauenmörder von Boston  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lionel Newman's original music consists of one cue ("Peter the Pole") lasting 22 seconds. See more »

Goofs

A shot of Tony Curtis, in a doorway, includes a 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado in the background, at a time (in the story) which is supposedly 1963-64 (shortly after JFK's funeral). See more »

Quotes

Capt. Ed Willis: Usually in a homicide of this kind, where nothing's stolen, it's a personal enmity, a grudge killing.
John Asgeirsson: Two cases of personal enmity against two harmless old ladies in the same neighborhood in one week?
John Asgeirsson: Come on, Captain, looks to me like a nut's loose.
Sgt. Frank McAfee: Nuts don't ransack apartments.
See more »

Crazy Credits

This is the true story of Albert Desalvo, the self-confessed Boston Strangler. The characters and incidents you are about to see are based on fact. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In: Episode #2.25 (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

Give Me the Simple Life
(uncredited)
Music by Rube Bloom
Played in the bar when Di Natale is talking to Carr
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Fiction
16 February 2002 | by (Deming, New Mexico, USA) – See all my reviews

There is a big problem with this movie -- aside from the unecessary and distracting use of the split screen, a passing fad ripped off from Warhol's Chelsea Girls. The first half is an almost flawless police procedural. It doesn't stick to historical facts all that much. Bottomly was a political nobody whose main job was to keep the public thinking that something was being done. The second half deals with Albert DeSalvo the man and is pretty much hyped up and fictional. It turns from a good docudrama into a standard piece of Hollywood baloney. Not a reflection on Tony Curtis's performance. He's better here than in most of his performances, some of which -- Some Like It Hot and The Outsider -- are pretty good. But, first, there is a lot of controversy surrounding the diagnosis of multiple personality disorder. MPD is when two or more whole and integrated personalities inhabit the same body. It may or may not be "real" and in any case is easily faked. And DeSalvo didn't "have it." I don't mean to harp on the issue of historical accuracy. Sometimes, as in Shakespeare in Love, it really doesn't matter much, but in this case it does because it's used as a deus ex machina that resolves all the questions the actual facts raise. Interviews with DeSalva make it clear that he knew exactly what he was doing when he was doing it. And he didn't need help in remembering the facts. He recalled all of the details, including the state of his penis, while he committed the murders. The film changes history and turns him into just another dramatic case of MPD. Nothing is said about his admission that he was also a criminal rapist known to the police as "the green man," who, in the guise of a talent scout, went around measuring girl's busts and hips, thousands of them by his admission. The film also leaves out any reference to his escape from jail and his subsequent recapture wearing a sailor's uniform. He never had the anxiety attack shown in the film. He never went over the edge into irredeemable psychosis. Any competent shrink in reviewing the case would diagnose the real Boston strangler as a socialized type of anti-social personality disorder, the kind of illness that used to be called "psychopath." He was a con man, pure and simple. The ending is dramatic but it's nothing but fictional trash designed to lull an unthinking audience into the belief that even the most loathsome and darkest aspect of human nature has a comprehensible explanation. The twisting of fact is understandable, however. The real, historical explanation, or the lack of it, would give not only the Boston strangler but all the rest of us an anxiety attack. Some people commit thoroughly rotten acts -- and none of the rest of us knows why.


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