Two wealthy law-school students go on trial for murder in this version of the Leopold-Loeb case.
Compulsion (1959) Online
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 ...
|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|
Although the story was a thinly-disguised recreation of the Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb murder case, the legal department of 20th Century Fox was still concerned about a possible lawsuit from the still-living Leopold. A great effort was made not to mention Leopold or Loeb in the movie, press releases, and interviews. However, there was apparently poor communication with the advertising department, since when the movie came out, newspaper ads stated, "based on the famous Leopold and Loeb murder case." Leopold sued the filmmakers. He did not claim libel, slander, nor anything false nor defamatory about the film. Instead, he claimed an invasion of privacy. The court rejected his claim, in part, because Leopold had already published his own autobiography "Life Plus 99 Years", publicizing essentially the same facts.
This is the second of four Hollywood film adaptations of the Leopold-Loeb murder case. The others being Верёвка (1948), Обморок (1992), and Отсчет убийств (2002).
Because Orson Welles was having tax problems during the production, his entire salary for the movie was garnisheed several hours after principal photography was completed. This upset Welles so much, that during the subsequent looping session to rerecord improperly recorded dialogue, Welles suddenly stormed off the studio and left the country. All that was left to fix was twenty seconds of unclear dialogue in Welles' climatic courtroom speech, but Editor William Reynolds managed to fix this problem without Welles. Reynolds took words and pieces of words that Welles had spoken earlier in the movie, and pieced them one by one into those last twenty seconds.
Richard Fleischer made two more films about real-life notorious murders, The Boston Strangler (1968) and 10 Rillington Place (1971).
In his treatment of the Leopold-Loeb case, Верёвка (1948), Sir Alfred Hitchcock used his famous "ten-minute takes" and segued from one to the other with a "natural wipe" generally focusing on the back of one of the character's suit jackets. Perhaps as an homage to the Master, this film's director, Richard Fleischer, uses a "natural wipe" focusing on the front of Bradford Dillman's suit to end a scene.
Although top-billed, Orson Welles doesn't appear in the film until one hour and five minutes have passed.
During his closing arguments speech Jonathan Wilk (Orson Welles) mentions that he has practiced law for forty-five to forty-six years. Welles, however, was only forty-three-years-old when the movie was made.
Orson Welles, Dean Stockwell, and Bradford Dillman were given a special three-way acting award at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival.
Bradford Dillman, in his autobiography, said that he and Dean Stockwell never got along. Stockwell had previously played his role on-stage, and had wanted his Broadway co-star Roddy McDowall for the movie. Stockwell and Dillman worked again on the little-seen South African thriller One Away (1976) (1976).
The first film produced by Richard D. Zanuck.
The original play included what was then a modern-day sequence. This was omitted from the film. It showed several of the characters thirty years after the story took place.
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.
For some reason, the appropriately gravelly voice of actor and wrestler Henry Kulky, nicknamed "Bomber", playing the part of a speakeasy waiter, was dubbed by another actor.
Released in 1959, thirty-five years after the real murder.
The film takes place in Chicago in 1924.
Average shot length and median shot length = ~eleven seconds.
During a rehearsal of the court room scene shooting starring Orson Welles and Diane Varsi, Welles humiliated a young publicity man who had made the mistake not to cancel an appointment between Welles and Hedda Hooper. Welles then ignored the poor publicity man and resumed the rehearsal, just in front a very confused Diane Varsi.
Three actors in the movie later portrayed murder victims in the television series Коломбо (1971) (1971). Martin Milner in season one, episode one, "Коломбо: Murder by the Book (1971)" - (Directed by Steven Spielberg), Bradford Dillman in season two, episode two, "Коломбо: The Greenhouse Jungle (1972)" - (murdered by "В случае убийства набирайте М (1954)" star Ray Milland, and Dean Stockwell in season two, episode three, "Коломбо: The Most Crucial Game (1972)" - (Stockwell also played a murder suspect in season four, episode four, "Коломбо: Troubled Waters (1975)"). Actually it's four! Richard Anderson in Season one, episode 5, "Коломбо: Lady in Waiting (1971)"
With Bradford Dillman's passing on January 2018, Dean Stockwell is the last member of the main cast still living.
Bradford Dillman and E.G. Marshall appeared in The Bridge at Remagen (1969) (1969).
E.G. Marshall and Edward Binns previously appeared in 12 рaзгневанных мужчин (1957).