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Compulsion (1959)

Approved | | Biography, Crime, Drama | April 1959 (USA)
Trailer
2:27 | Trailer
Two wealthy law-school students go on trial for murder in this version of the Leopold-Loeb case.

Director:

Richard Fleischer

Writers:

Richard Murphy (screenplay), Meyer Levin (based on the novel by)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Orson Welles ... Jonathan Wilk
Diane Varsi ... Ruth Evans
Dean Stockwell ... Judd Steiner
Bradford Dillman ... Arthur A. Straus
E.G. Marshall ... District Attorney Harold Horn
Martin Milner ... Sid Brooks
Richard Anderson ... Max Steiner
Robert F. Simon ... Police Lt. Johnson (as Robert Simon)
Edward Binns ... Tom Daly
Robert Burton ... Charles Straus
Wilton Graff ... Mr. Steiner
Louise Lorimer ... Mrs. Straus aka 'Mumsy'
Gavin MacLeod ... Padua - Horn's Assistant
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Storyline

In Chicago in 1924, Artie Strauss and Judd Steiner are friends and fellow law students who come from wealthy backgrounds. They have few true friends as they believe all their contemporaries to be intellectually inferior. Although Judd acts arrogantly towards others his inherent weakness is understood and exploited by Artie and indeed Judd appears to relish his submissiveness to Artie. Part of their goal in life, influenced perhaps by their admiration for Nietzsche, is to experience how it feels to do anything one pleases. They thus plot to commit what they consider the perfect crime - a kidnapping and murder - not only in order to experience killing for killing's sake, but also - especially in Artie's case - to taunt the authorities after the fact. They believe themselves above the law. The actual killing of little Paulie Kessler, and the subsequent attempts to cover their tracks, are not so perfect however. Sid Brooks, a fellow student (who also works for the Globe newspaper) whom ... Written by Huggo, edited with some additional material by Chrid

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sometimes murder is just a way to pass the time. See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

April 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Compulsion See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (FMC Library Print)

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (35 mm magnetic prints) (Westrex Recording System)| Mono (35 mm optical prints) (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

According to Richard Fleischer in his biography, Orson Welles was a very difficult person to direct. He was jealous of the director rank of Fleischer and he behaved like a spoiled child, because of his tax issues with IRS and his lost stardom in the movie business. See more »

Goofs

When D.A. Horn is interviewing Straus, Horn sits down in a chair that was meant for Straus and moves a floor lampshade back down that had been directing its light at that chair. Straus moves to stand beside the floor lamp. The light is then variably on and off as shots between the two change. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Judd Steiner: To the perfect crime!
Arthur Straus: Crime. Oh, my wealthy fraternity brothers. 67 dollars, and a second-hand typewriter.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits prologue: CHICAGO, 1924 See more »

Connections

Referenced in Orson Welles: The Paris Interview (1960) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Murder and Dean Stockwell's Eyes
27 April 2007 | by littlemartinarocenaSee all my reviews

Seeing "Compulsion" again after a very long time, it amazed me how well I remembered it. In fact I remembered every tiny little turn in Dean Stockwell's eyes. He is superb in the part of the young semi genius with a weakness for the shallow Bradford Dillman. The Leopold and Loeb case was the base for this thrilling Richard Fleischer film. It won acting awards for Stockwell, Dillman and Orson Welles at the Cannes Film Festival but with the benefit of hindsight, Dean Stockwell emerges as the winner against the famous test of time. Dillman seems a little bit too everything. Welles is great fun to watch and E G Marshall is terrific as the man determined to unmask the "powder poofs". Stockwell fainting at the trial, something that could have been so over the top, is in fact, shattering. The Leopold and Loeb story was also the base for Hitchcock's "Rope" and the wonderful Tom Kalin's "Swoon" Another version was rumored in 1991, directed by Martin Donovan with River Phoenix in the Stockwell part.


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