Compulsion

Compulsion

Director: Richard Fleischer

Cast: Orson Welles, Dean Stockwell, Bradford Dillman

     
 

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Compulsion is a compelling, stylish thriller, loosely based on the famous 1924 murder trial of thrill-killers Loeb and Leopold, two homosexual students who murdered a young boy to demonstrate their intellectual superiority. Artie Straus (Bradford Dillman) is a sadistic, mother-dominated bully. Judd Steiner (Dean Stockwell) is a submissive, introverted sissy.See more details below

Overview

Compulsion is a compelling, stylish thriller, loosely based on the famous 1924 murder trial of thrill-killers Loeb and Leopold, two homosexual students who murdered a young boy to demonstrate their intellectual superiority. Artie Straus (Bradford Dillman) is a sadistic, mother-dominated bully. Judd Steiner (Dean Stockwell) is a submissive, introverted sissy. Having been raised by wealthy, arrogant families, both Artie and Judd consider themselves above conventional morality. Unfeeling and conceited, the boys, after the killing, take delight in offering to aid in finding the culprits. It is this arrogance which leads to their capture and prosecution for the murders. Jonathan Wilk (Orson Welles), playing a Clarence Darrow-like criminal defense attorney, takes on the case, and puts on a defense, without the cooperation of his clients, who will offer no explanation for what they have done. Bradford Dillman gives an outstanding performance, as does Dean Stockwell as the utterly unsympathetic murderers. Orson Welles is flamboyantly imposing as Wilk, who must use all his wits to try to save the boys from execution. Compulsion is a suspenseful courtroom drama, even though most viewers will know the outcome. Tautly directed by Richard Fleischer, the film is an outstanding, believable courtroom drama.

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
The Leopold and Loeb trial of the 1920s captured the popular imagination of the American people for much of the 20th century. The sociopathic notion of two affluent young men committing murder just to prove they could get away with the crime has a nihilistic, modern feel to it, and in many ways it still influences the way we think about crime. It's no surprise, then, that the case has been the basis for three fine films: Alfred Hitchcock's Rope, Richard Fleischer's Compulsion and Tom Kalin's Swoon. Of the three, Compulsion is arguably the best, as it sticks closest to the facts of the case. Fleischer's emphasis is on the courtroom drama, and to that end, he's aided by the outstanding performances of Dean Stockwell and Bradford Dillman as the Leopold and Loeb-derived criminals and Orson Welles as their lawyer, modeled on Clarence Darrow. Welles' impassioned pleas to save the boys from the death penalty -- written by Richard Murphy, though the actor may have been responsible for much of his dialogue -- provide the film with some of its finest moments.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/23/2006
UPC:
0024543238515
Original Release:
1959
Rating:
NR
Source:
20th Century Fox
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:43:00
Sales rank:
37,362

Special Features

Closed Caption; Widescreen feature with Theatrical Trailer; Teaser; Fox Flix: St. Valentine's Day Massacre and Murder, Inc

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Orson Welles Jonathan Wilk
Dean Stockwell Judd Steiner
Bradford Dillman Artie Straus
Diane Varsi Ruth Evans
E.G. Marshall D.A. Horn
Martin Milner Sid Brooks
Richard Anderson Max Steiner
Edward Binns Tom Daly
Robert Burton Mr. Straus
Wilton Graff Mr. Steiner
Louise Lorimer Mrs. Straus
Gavin MacLeod Padua
Terry Becker Benson
Russ Bender Edgar Llewellyn
Gerry Lock Emma
Harry Carter Detective Davis
Simon Scott Det. Brown
Voltaire Perkins Judge
Robert Simon Lt. Johnson
Ina Balin Mike's Girlfriend
Peter Brocco Albert
Frank Conroy Actor
Wendell Holmes Jonas Kessler
Henry Kulky Waiter
Jack Lomas Coroner
Dayton Lummis Doctor

Technical Credits
Richard Fleischer Director
Eli Benneche Set Decoration/Design
Eugene Grossman Sound/Sound Designer
Ben Kadish Asst. Director
Mark-Lee Kirk Production Designer
Charles LeMaire Costumes/Costume Designer
Harry M. Leonard Sound/Sound Designer
William C. Mellor Cinematographer
Richard Murphy Screenwriter
Lionel Newman Score Composer
Ben Nye Makeup
Adele Palmer Costumes/Costume Designer
William H. Reynolds Editor
Walter Scott Set Decoration/Design
Lyle Wheeler Production Designer
Richard D. Zanuck Producer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Complusion
1. Perfect Crime
2. Main Titles
3. Anything You Say
4. Superior Intellect
5. Too Big
6. Coming Up Empty
7. Blame Game
8. Strange Birds
9. Deflecting Suspicion
10. Emotionally Detached
11. Afraid
12. Three Pairs of Glasses
13. A Coupel of Tramps
14. Dining Out
15. Pointing the Finger
16. Best in the Country
17. Like a Child
18. Legal Tactics
19. Building a Defense
20. Change of Plea
21. Mental Condition
22. Pity
23. In the Name of Justice
24. Hand of God

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