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Movie Details

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Directed By
Richard Fleischer

Written By:
Richard Murphy

Orson Welles, Bradford Dillman, Dean Stockwell, Diane Varsi, E.G. Marshall, Martin Milner, Richard Anderson, Robert F. Simon, Edward Binns, Robert Burton, Wilton Graff, Gavin MacLeod

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Compulsion (1958)
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Movie Review by Derringer
March 15th, 2009


Released in 1959/Filmed in black and white - COMPULSION is an engrossing, first-rate melodrama.

COMPULSION is loosely based upon actual 'real-life' events that lead up to, and surrounded, the sensationally famous LEOB/LEOPLOLD murder trial of 1924.

Actors DEAN STOCKWELL and BRADFORD DILLMAN offer up dynamite performances in this flick.

STOCKWELL and DILLMAN play fictitious characters, Judd Steiner and Artie Strauss, respectively. These 2 snobbish, self-satisfied, young, homosexual, college men are unbelievable in the utter smugness of their 'almighty' attitude.

To demonstrate to the rest of the world just how intellectually superior they fancy themselves to be, Judd and Artie callously plot, and, then cold-bloodedly carry out, the murder of an innocent, 12 year-old boy. Judd and Artie believe that through the sheer ingeniousness of their crime that they'll never, ever get caught.

Being from such wealthy, arrrogant families, both Artie and Judd consider themselves to be far above conventional morality. In their exalted opinion - Bourgeoisie righteousness may apply to others, but certainly not to these 2 pompous, little whipper-snappers. The conceitedness of Artie and Judd is so absolutely complete that they lack any remorse whatsoever over this cold-blooded murder that they had so heartlessly committed.

A jogger, running through the woods near the college, discovers the body of the murdered boy in a shallow, leaf-covered grave. The Police Coroner's autopsy reveals that the boy had been strangled to death, but not before putting up a fight. Evidence clearly showed that the boy had deeply scratched at his assailants, as there was blood (which was not his) found underneath his fingernails.

Once the News Media gets hold of this sensationally shocking story it becomes the literal talk of the town (Chicago). Police investigation is soon under way, at full force.

Artie and Judd, who aren't satisfied with just murdering the boy, find that they actually have the gall to want to get into the act of this murder's investigation. And with that, these 2 c.o.c.ksure twits actually start offering the police aid in finding the murderers. As one would expect - This act of sheer vanity, naturally, becomes Artie and Judd's downfall, as they inevitably give themselves away with an accidental slip of the tongue.

Artie and Judd are soon apprehended and prosecuted for murder.

In an intense drama that transpires within the courtroom, neither Artie, nor Judd, offer up any reasonable explanation for their crime. Even though they were finally caught for what they did, they still, wholeheartedly, believed themselves to be intellectually superior to all others.

Well - Whether this was true, or not, Artie and Judd were both, eventually, sentenced to death.

Great Drama. Great Performances. Great Flick.

COMPULSION also stars ORSON WELLES as Johnathon Wilk - Criminal Defense Attorney.

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