7.1/10
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The Boston Strangler (1968)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 16 October 1968 (USA)
A series of brutal murders in Boston sparks a seemingly endless and increasingly complex manhunt.

Director:

Richard Fleischer

Writers:

Edward Anhalt (screenplay), Gerold Frank (book)
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tony Curtis ... Albert DeSalvo
Henry Fonda ... John S. Bottomly
George Kennedy ... Phil DiNatale
Mike Kellin ... Julian Soshnick
Hurd Hatfield ... Terence Huntley
Murray Hamilton ... Frank McAfee
Jeff Corey ... John Asgeirsson
Sally Kellerman ... Dianne Cluny
William Marshall ... Edward W.Brooke
George Voskovec ... Peter Hurkos
Leora Dana ... Mary Bottomly
Carolyn Conwell Carolyn Conwell ... Irmgard DeSalvo
Jeanne Cooper ... Cloe
Austin Willis Austin Willis ... Dr. Nagy
Lara Lindsay ... Bobbie Eden
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Storyline

Boston is being terrorized by a series of seemingly random murders of women. Based on the true story, the film follows the investigators path through several leads before introducing the Strangler as a character. It is seen almost exclusively from the point of view of the investigators who have very few clues to build a case upon. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

This is the true story of Albert DeSalvo, the self-confessed Boston Strangler, and of what he did to thirteen women and one city. See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 October 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Frauenmörder von Boston See more »

Filming Locations:

Boston, Massachusetts, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,100,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$17,810,894, 31 December 1968
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Color by Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Edward Winter. See more »

Goofs

In the film, it is assumed DeSalvo was guilty, and it portrays him as suffering from multiple personality disorder and committing the murders whilst in a psychotic state. DeSalvo was never diagnosed with, or even suspected of, having that disorder. See more »

Quotes

Title card: [opening title card] This is the story of 'Albert DeSalvo', the self-confessed Boston Strangler. The characters and incidents you are about to see are based on fact.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing credits epilogue; ALBERT DESALVO, PRESENTLY IMPRISONED IN WALPOLE, MASSACHUSETTS, HAS NEVER BEEN INDICTED OR TRIED FOR THE BOSTON STRANGLINGS.

THIS FILM HAS ENDED, BUT THE RESPONSIBILTY OF SOCIETY FOR THE EARLY RECOGNITION AND TREATMENT OF THE VIOLENT AMONG US HAS YET TO BEGIN. See more »

Alternate Versions

The original UK cinema version suffered heavy BBFC cuts with edits to shots of a woman's dead body, the murder scenes, and the removal of graphic descriptions of the murder victims. Video versions were cut by 1 min 5 secs and reduced the torture of Dianne Cluny to a series of flash shots by removing facial closeups, a shot of her kicking, and detailed footage of her arms and legs being tied to the bed. The cuts were fully restored in the 2004 TCF widescreen DVD. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In: Episode #2.25 (1969) See more »

Soundtracks

Again
(uncredited)
Music by Lionel Newman
Played on the piano at the gay bar
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Tony Curtis embraces the unpleasant
2 August 2005 | by BogmeisterSee all my reviews

Based on the real-life series of murders in Boston from 1962-64, this police procedural has close to a documentary-style approach. The filmmakers also utilized the split-screen technique briefly popular back then, in other films such as "The Thomas Crown Affair." More than just splitting the screen in two, there are sometimes as many as 5 different images dividing the screen, and a widescreen version is necessary to get the full effect. Here, the technique is used to display the actions of both the victim and the serial killer at the same time, viewing their movements preceding the actual murders. Some viewers may find their concentration divided to a greater degree than they would like.

The first half of the film shows how the police deal with (or, try to) the number of female bodies steadily piling up in the city. Some of the material is dated, with homosexuals being the primary suspects, and various types of perverts, like peeping toms, rounded up in unintentionally amusing scenes (see also "The Detective"1968 with Frank Sinatra for similar scenes of the homosexual community persecuted by the police dept.). Fonda plays the chief investigator, placed in charge against his wishes, but who soon accepts the gravity of the situation. George Kennedy is one of the main detectives.

Curtis doesn't appear until the first hour ends. As an actor, he immersed himself in this unpleasant role, and, from the first minute he's seen on screen, all his past film roles are summarily wiped away. He was a star for close to 15 years at that point and all those comedies & sappy adventures he'd been in immediately disappear from one's mind. It's a rather astounding feat - who knew he was this method actor? But, he wasn't even nominated for an Oscar. Also, unlike, for example, Travolta's comeback in "Pulp Fiction"(94), this did not revitalize his career. Sally Kellerman("M*A*S*H",1970) also appears in an early role as a victim who just may survive. Look also for, in a very early role, James Brolin in one scene as a police sgt. caught in some indiscretion by a supposed clairvoyant. Modern filmmakers should also check out some of director Fleischer's techniques towards the end, in that white room with Curtis.


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