Director: Tom Kalin, Daniel Schlachet, Craig Chester, Ron Vawter

Cast: Tom Kalin, Daniel Schlachet, Craig Chester, Ron Vawter

Tom Kalin directed this cool and aloof black-and-white study of the infamous Leopold and Loeb case, a case told before in two previous films -- Rope and Compulsion. In 1924, in Chicago, Nathan Leopold Jr. and Richard Loeb, two 18-year-olds, kidnapped and murdered the 13-year-old Bobby Franks, immediately killing him and then stuffing his naked body up a


Tom Kalin directed this cool and aloof black-and-white study of the infamous Leopold and Loeb case, a case told before in two previous films -- Rope and Compulsion. In 1924, in Chicago, Nathan Leopold Jr. and Richard Loeb, two 18-year-olds, kidnapped and murdered the 13-year-old Bobby Franks, immediately killing him and then stuffing his naked body up a culvert. The motive for the crime was simply that they wanted to prove to themselves that they were smart enough to get away with it. The previous film versions downplayed Leopold and Loeb's homosexuality, but Kalin's version plays it up into a psychosexual motif. Loeb (Daniel Schlachet) is the calculating intellectual, while Leopold (Craig Chester), the amateur ornithologist, is the emotional and weak one. In love with Loeb, Leopold is willing to do anything for him, and when Leob uses the withholding of sex as a prompt, Leopold is even willing to commit murder to have his sexual desires satisfied by Loeb.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Brian J. Dillard
The term "cold exercise in style" may as well have been invented for this harbinger of the New Queer Cinema of the early '90s. As far as arty exercises go, though, Tom Kalin's debut feature remains an eminently watchable one. Filmed in high-contrast black-and-white and set to an uneasy orchestral score, Swoon is based on the original "trial of the century" -- the one that also inspired Alfred Hitchcock's Rope and Richard Fleischer's Compulsion. Yet by foregrounding what was, to varying degrees, merely homosexual subtext in those earlier films, Swoon refashions the material into an au courant examination of gay identity. Unlike Compulsion, a courtroom drama, and Rope, a taut set piece, Kalin's film delves further into the inner lives of the neurotic Leopold (Craig Chester) and the manipulative Loeb (Daniel Schlachet). Though it details key points in the murder and subsequent investigation, Kalin's script spends more time examining the twisted domesticity and psychological give-and-take of the squabbling murderers. An extended coda follows Loeb through his long prison sentence, lending a sense of scope and reflection to the proceedings, while stylized voice-overs give the entire proceedings the feel of an internal monologue. The script's political overtones may seem dated this far from the age of ACT UP, but they no more detract from the viewing experience than Hitchcock's camera showmanship does from the white-knuckle thrills of Rope. A product of its times, Swoon transcends them with careful craftsmanship and emotional acuity.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Strand Home Video
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Special Features

Digitally remastered and supervised by director and cinematographer; Commentary track with director Tom Kalin, cinematographer Ellen Kuras, producer Christine Vachon, and actor Craig Chester; Photo gallery featuring never-before-seen photos from the film, real photos from the Loeb/Leopold murder case; Original theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Daniel Schlachet Richard Loeb
Craig Chester Nathan Leopold, Jr.
Ron Vawter State's Attorney Crowe
Michael Kirby Detective Savage
Michael Stumm Doctor Bowman
Valda Z. Drabla Germaine Reinhardt
Malcolm A. Beers Nathan Leopold, Jr.
Jill Buchanan Venus in Fur Diva
Brent Charleton Irving Hartman
Phelim Dolan Prison Mugshot
Patricia Fabricant Phrenology Head
Carl M. George Courtroom Extra
Maddy Lederman Press Conference Extra
James Lyons Prison Mugshot
Dana Nasrallah Courtroom Extra
Philip Stanton Gene Lovitz
Trash Venus in Fur Diva
Trasharama Venus in Fur Diva
Nashom Wooden Venus in Fur Diva
Eric J. Wiggins Country Workman
Natalie Stanford Susan Lurie
Isabela Araujo Venus in Fur Diva
Mona Foot Venus in Fur Diva
Peter Bowen Factory Workman
Ryan Landry Ivory
Christopher Hoover Elektra Luxe
Paul Connor Bobby Franks
Christopher Cangelosi Little Boy in Park
Dick Callaghan Country Workman
Craig Paull Country Workman
Carlos Rodriguez Country Workman
Elion Sacker Country Workman
Emmitt Thrower Country Workman
Ken Howarth Sven Englund, Chauffeur
Barry Liebowitz Mr. Franks
Judith Boxley Mrs. Franks
Julian Marynczak Workman in Marsh
Daniel Haughey Ornithologist
John Rowan Man with Newspaper
Stanley Taub Mr. Loeb
Robert Austin Allan Loeb
Barbara Bleier Mrs. Loeb
Ed Altman Mike Leopold
John A. Mudd Detective Sbarbaro
Robert Sullivan Night Desk Officer
Verne F. Hoyt Night Cop
Pepe Vives Night Detective
James Cummings Interrogation Cop
Adina Porter Stenographer
Robert Read Clarence Darrow
Paul Schmidt Judge Caverly
Richard Elovich Doctor Hulbert
Christie MacFadyen Reporter
Robert McKanna Reporter
Bobby Reed Reporter
Mark Simpson Bailiff
Jim Crawford Prison Barber
Glenn Backes James Day
Ray Wasik Mean Prison Guard
Jean Claude Monfort Clinic Doctor
Michael Nesline Clinic Doctor
Richard R. Upton Clinic Doctor
William Walters Clinic Doctor
Burt Wright Warden
Paul Rubin Father Weir
Gary Lamadore Interrogation Cop
Richard Schechner Radio Announcer
Dean C. Blanco Courtroom Extra
Catarina Borelli Courtroom Extra
Barry Cassidy Courtroom Extra
David Cheever Courtroom Extra
James Crafford Courtroom Extra
Lou Galiardo Courtroom Extra
Debra Goodman Courtroom Extra
Heidi Kriz Courtroom Extra
Scott K. MacArthur Courtroom Extra
John McGee Courtroom Extra
Elizabeth Towson Courtroom Extra
Oscar Aleman Press Conference Extra
Emanuel Baetich Press Conference Extra
Robert Beck Press Conference Extra
Mike Diaz Press Conference Extra
Tanya Taylor Press Conference Extra
Michael Becker Phrenology Head
Zoe Bissell Phrenology Head
Gregg Bordowitz Phrenology Head
Todd Haynes Phrenology Head
Andrea Kislan Phrenology Head
Pamela Koffler Phrenology Head
Lauren Zalaznick Phrenology Head
Robert Funes Prisoner
Addison Cook Prison Guard
Douglas Crimp Prison Mugshot
Alex Vean Prisoner
John Ventimiglia Prison Guard
Douglas Leland Prison Guard
Robert Vazquez Prisoner
Owen H. Ranft Prisoner

Technical Credits
Tom Kalin Director,Co-producer,Editor,Screenwriter
James Bennett Score Composer
Jim Crawford Makeup
Therese DePrez Production Designer
Jessica Haston Costumes/Costume Designer
Daniel Haughey Casting
Sheldon Kahn Editor
Ellen Kuras Cinematographer
James Schamus Executive Producer
Denny Vachlioti Producer
Christine Vachon Producer
Peter Wentworth Associate Producer
Lauren Zalaznick Executive Producer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Opening Credits [4:24]
2. 1923 [7:54]
3. 1924 [7:42]
4. Kidnapping [8:22]
5. Body [7:46]
6. Ransom [8:51]
7. Interrogation [6:12]
8. Confession [9:11]
9. Court [8:51]
10. Verdict [3:58]
11. Prison [16:00]
12. Closing Credits [3:49]


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