7.4/10
5,471
79 user 54 critic

Compulsion (1959)

Approved | | Biography, Crime, Drama | April 1959 (USA)
Trailer
2:27 | Trailer
Two wealthy law-school students go on trial for murder in this version of the Leopold-Loeb case.

Director:

Richard Fleischer

Writers:

Richard Murphy (screenplay), Meyer Levin (based on the novel by)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Three performers for six roles: this is the game of the film. A melodrama about two love triangles. In the first, Hagalin is killed by his mistress and her lover. In the second, attorney ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Orson Welles, Juliette Gréco, Bradford Dillman
Swoon (1992)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

The true story of gay lovers, Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold Jr. who kidnapped and murdered a child in the early 1920s for kicks. The plot covers the months before the crime, the ... See full summary »

Director: Tom Kalin
Stars: Daniel Schlachet, Craig Chester, Ron Vawter
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A series of brutal murders in Boston sparks a seemingly endless and increasingly complex manhunt.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Tony Curtis, Henry Fonda, George Kennedy
Certificate: GP Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Based on the real-life case of the British serial killer John Christie, and what happened to his neighbors Tim and Beryl Evans.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Richard Attenborough, Judy Geeson, John Hurt
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

An idealistic rookie cop joins the L.A.P.D. to make ends meet while finishing law school, and is indoctrinated by a seasoned veteran. As time goes on, he loses his ambitions and family as police work becomes his entire life.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: George C. Scott, Stacy Keach, Jane Alexander
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A woman planning to testify against the mob must be protected against their assassins on the train trip from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Charles McGraw, Marie Windsor, Jacqueline White
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Misadventures of an ambitious unlucky Irishman who goes on a long and arduous trip to Africa along with his wife and bumbling cousin in hopes of starting a trucking business there.

Directors: Richard Fleischer, Elmo Williams
Stars: Stephen Boyd, Juliette Gréco, David Wayne
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An American adventurer investigates the past of the mysterious tycoon Gregory Arkadin (Orson Welles), placing himself in grave danger.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Orson Welles, Peter van Eyck, Michael Redgrave
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Accused barn burner and conman Ben Quick (Paul Newman) arrives in a small Mississippi town and quickly ingratiates himself with its richest family, the Varners.

Director: Martin Ritt
Stars: Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Anthony Franciosa
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

With his newspaper about to be sold, crusading editor Ed Hutcheson tries to complete an exposé on gangster Rienzi.

Director: Richard Brooks
Stars: Humphrey Bogart, Ethel Barrymore, Kim Hunter
Arena (1953)
Drama | Sport | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

Rodeo rider's marriage is endangered because of his commitment to the sport.

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Gig Young, Jean Hagen, Polly Bergen
Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing is the true story of Evelyn Nesbit (Dame Joan Collins), a beautiful showgirl caught in a love triangle with elderly architect Stanford White (Ray Milland) and eccentric young millionaire Harry K. Thaw (Farley Granger).

Director: Richard Fleischer
Stars: Ray Milland, Joan Collins, Farley Granger
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Orson Welles ... Jonathan Wilk
Diane Varsi ... Ruth Evans
Dean Stockwell ... Judd Steiner
Bradford Dillman ... Arthur A. Straus
E.G. Marshall ... District Attorney Harold Horn
Martin Milner ... Sid Brooks
Richard Anderson ... Max Steiner
Robert F. Simon ... Police Lt. Johnson (as Robert Simon)
Edward Binns ... Tom Daly
Robert Burton ... Charles Straus
Wilton Graff ... Mr. Steiner
Louise Lorimer ... Mrs. Straus aka 'Mumsy'
Gavin MacLeod ... Padua - Horn's Assistant
Edit

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:

You know why we did it? Because we damn well felt like doing it! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

April 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Compulsion See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (FMC Library Print)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (35 mm magnetic prints) (Westrex Recording System)| Mono (35 mm optical prints) (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Although the story was a thinly-disguised recreation of the Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb murder case, the legal department of 20th Century Fox was still concerned about a possible lawsuit from the still-living Leopold. A great effort was made not to mention Leopold or Loeb in the movie, press releases, and interviews. However, there was apparently poor communication with the advertising department, since when the movie came out, newspaper ads stated, "based on the famous Leopold and Loeb murder case." Leopold sued the filmmakers. He did not claim libel, slander, nor anything false nor defamatory about the film. Instead, he claimed an invasion of privacy. The court rejected his claim, in part, because Leopold had already published his own autobiography "Life Plus 99 Years", publicizing essentially the same facts. See more »

Goofs

When the murdered boy is in the morgue, his uncle recognizes him instantly, and the coroner doesn't mention to the young journalist (who found the glasses) that the kid had acid burned all over his face so he couldn't be identified. In the real life case, his face was burned and, most importantly, at the very end of the movie, Orson Welles as the defending attorney mentions that the murdered boy's face was burned with acid. 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 »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: CHICAGO, 1924 See more »

Connections

Referenced in In Praise of Older Women (1978) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Leopold-Loeb Re-Telling Has Interesting Characters
17 February 2008 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

This was pretty interesting, thanks to Bradford Dillman who was excellent as one of the murderers, and to Orson Welles, as defense attorney "Jonathan Wilk." Wells could be such an imposing presence on screen! Interesting, too, that his character was an atheist but in the end admitted he may have been wrong about that.

E.G. Marshall also was fun to watch as the prosecutor, "Dist. Att. Harold Horn," but, of course, the screen writers had him silent in the end only showing Welles state his liberal impassioned anti-death penalty speech at the end.

Dillman and Dean Stockwell were the wise-guys, young arrogant punks who thought they were smarter than anyone else. Dillman held up under pressure but Stockwell was an annoying wimpy wuss who cracked. Diani Varsi playing the lukewarm love interest, adds very little to the film.

Overall, this re-telling of the famous Leopold-Loeb case of the 1920s was worth the watch and recommended. If this kind of story fascinates you, I recommend a similar film: "Rope" (1949).


20 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 79 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed