7.5/10
5,179
73 user 54 critic

Compulsion (1959)

Approved | | Biography, Crime, Drama | April 1959 (USA)
Trailer
2:26 | Trailer

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ON DISC
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 & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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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
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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 »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

April 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Zwang zum Bösen 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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film takes place in Chicago in 1924. See more »

Goofs

When D.A. Horn is interviewing Straus, Horn sits down in a chair that was meant for Straus and moves a floor lampshade back down that had been directing its light at that chair. Straus moves to stand beside the floor lamp. The light is then variably on and off as shots between the two change. 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.
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Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: CHICAGO, 1924 See more »

Connections

Version of Rope (1939) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Mesmerized by Dean Stockwell
30 April 2017 | by peterzullmanSee all my reviews

I don't know why I'm so attracted to this vulnerable weirdos. From Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates in Psycho to Colin Firth as Adrian Leduc in Apartment Zero, darkness and a fragility that is part of the unbearable suspense. Maybe I'm in need of professional attention but I don't think so. What attracts me is by the undeniable innocence behind the horror and that has a lot, if not everything, to do with the actors playing them. Look at Anthony Perkins in Psycho! 57 years ago and it still looks and feels kind of revolutionary or Colin Firth in Apartment Zero, the character is so unique and real that you can see it a thousand times and always find some new extra something, then Dean Stockwell in Compulsion. He plays a monster, a sick, pathetic prince of a man. Yes all of that. The humanity of the actor makes the monster human and we can't dismiss him, he doesn't allow us. Orson Welles has a great entrance into the film and E.G Marshall is superb as per usual, it is the rest of the cast who seem a bit dated, specially when sharing the frame with the extraordinary Dean Stockwell


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