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Compulsion (1959)

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

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Writers:

(screenplay), (based on the novel by)
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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Jonathan Wilk
... Ruth Evans
... Judd Steiner
... Arthur A. Straus
... District Attorney Harold Horn
... Sid Brooks
... Max Steiner
... Police Lt. Johnson (as Robert Simon)
... Tom Daly
... Charles Straus
... Mr. Steiner
... Mrs. Straus aka 'Mumsy'
... 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

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Taglines:

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


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

April 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Zwang zum Bösen  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (FMC Library Print)

Sound Mix:

(35 mm magnetic prints) (Westrex Recording System)| (35 mm optical prints) (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During his closing arguments speech Jonathan Wilk (Orson Welles) mentions that he has practiced law for forty-five to forty-six years. Welles, however, was only forty-three-years-old when the movie was made. 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 Swoon (1992) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
The Strange Case Of Dean Stockwell
15 November 2007 | by See all my reviews

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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