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In 1932, the nation was shocked when the 14-month-old son of Charles Lindberg was kidnapped, held for ransom, and murdered. Two years later, Bruno Richard Hauptmann was arrested, convicted, and executed. This film dramatizes the investigation against Hauptmann, the trial, and the execution, painting a picture of a corrupt police force under pressure to finger a killer framing an innocent man by manufacturing evidence, paying-off and blackmailing witnesses, and covering up exculpatory evidence. Written by
Steve Derby <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Who dunnit? If you don't know already, this movie will not help you.
Crime of the Century fails much in the same way the system of justice failed in the prosecution of for the kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh's baby in the 1930s, not enough evidence.
I know Mark Rydell (On Golden Pond) to be an extremely sensitive filmmaker and stage director, his motivation here, I'm sure was to present an alternative to Hauptmann's guilt, to entertain ideas that the prosecution may have erred. The evidence was only circumstantial, of the course the crime was horrible, but Hauptmann's execution may have been more a result of public outrage than guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
And he may be right, based on everything I've read, he probably is right. Unfortunately all the probabilities in the world add up to nothing on screen. After only a couple of suppositions the viewer gets so lost in the ultimate goal of the story that he loses interest. I've watched this film 3 times, and lost interest every time.
What a waste of terrific actors, including Stephen Rea, J.T. Walsh, Michael Moriarty, Vyto Ruginis, Barry Primus, and Allen Garfield.
Without closure, as long we as know as little as we do about what actually happened, maybe this story is best left to the true-crime section of the local bookstore, or Investigative Reports, Dateline, or 20/20. Told this way, in this medium it's a sad waste of time.
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