In Chicago in 1924, Artie Strauss and Judd Steiner are friends and fellow law students who come from wealthy backgrounds. They have few true friends as they believe all their contemporaries to be intellectually inferior. Although Judd acts arrogantly towards others his inherent weakness is understood and exploited by Artie and indeed Judd appears to relish his submissiveness to Artie. Part of their goal in life, influenced perhaps by their admiration for Nietzsche, is to experience how it feels to do anything one pleases. They thus plot to commit what they consider the perfect crime - a kidnapping and murder - not only in order to experience killing for killing's sake, but also - especially in Artie's case - to taunt the authorities after the fact. They believe themselves above the law. The actual killing of little Paulie Kessler, and the subsequent attempts to cover their tracks, are not so perfect however. Sid Brooks, a fellow student (who also works for the Globe newspaper) whom ...Written by
Huggo, edited with some additional material by Chrid
THEIRS WAS THE PERFECT CRIME they thought! They were too sure...too smart...too careful to leave a clue -- but they did! and it exploded -- The shocking story of two teenagers out for kicks...looking for thrills...and finding them! See more »
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 »
Watching this 1959 Richard Fleischer confirmed something I've always known. Dean Stockwell is a superb actor and an extraordinary presence on the screen. So, I think it's strange that he's not regarded as one of the greatest actors that ever lived. He started as a kid. He was Gregory Peck's son, twice. He was in musicals with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra. He was directed by Elia Kazan. He made allegorical movies like "The Boy With Green Hair" directed by black listed Joseph Losey. He was Edmond in "Long Day's Journey Into Night" sharing the screen with Katharine Hepburn, Ralph Richardson and Jason Robards. No to mention his work in "Sons and Lovers" or the movies with Wim Wenders and David Lynch. Here, in "Compulsion" his performance is worthy of an Oscar and in fact he go the accolades at the Cannes Film Festival sharing the acting honors with Orson Welles and Bradford Dillman. But, looking at it now he is the one that comes out as the one who passed in triumph the test of time. His performance is so rich so perfectly modulated that you go straight into the human center of his sick, appalling character. "Compulsion" deserves to be rediscovered and Dean Stockwell's performance should be the main reason.
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