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Compulsion

Posted by martinteller on February 5, 2007

The most famous movie based on Leopold & Loeb is Hitchcock’s Rope.  Although I’m a champion of Rope (a tense film with a great performance by Jimmy Stewart, despite the gimmick), I’d put this one above it.  Compulsion sticks much closer to the real story, explores it in greater detail, and goes deeper into their psychology.  And Dean Stockwell is a far better “Loeb” than Farley Granger (John Dall vs. Bradford Dillman as “Leopold” is pretty much a draw).  The best stuff involves the period after the murder and before the trial, with Stockwell & Dillman trying to outwit the police… there were tense moments where I simultaneously wanted them to escape and wanted them to get caught.  Things slow down quite a bit for the trial, although Orson Welles’ (in the Clarence Darrow role) final 10+ minute anti-death penalty monologue is brilliant.  I couldn’t tell if the campus scenes were actually filmed at U of Chicago, but it kind of looked like it.  Rating: 8

IMDb
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