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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>
Call me a bleeding-heart liberal, but I guess I'm a sucker for movies about people who are wrongly accused. This movie, however, failed to move me, even though I've read books on the subject and the case itself moves me. Rydell and Nicholson do a good job setting up the circumstances that led Hauptmann to become a suspect, and to even arouse suspicions in us, but the dialogue and individual scenes fall completely flat, because they're obvious and heavy-handed. To make matters worse, some of the actors, like David Paymer and Allen Garfield, seem to have been told they were in an over-acting contest. Walsh is good, as is the ever dependable Moriarty, but Rea seems lacking as Hauptmann.
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