|Genre: Crime, Thriller, Drama, Murder, Law, Courtroom, Gay/Lesbian, True Story, Biography, Disturbing|
Tagline: You know why we did it? Because we damn well felt like doing it!
Plot: The second in director Richard Fleischer’s series of movies based on real life murder cases (following THE GIRL IN THE RED VELVET SWING), COMPULSION vividly recreates Chicago in the 1920s, where two wealthy psychopaths carry out a thrill killing. Fleischer draws extraordinary performances from his young leads. Bradford Dillman is dominating and dynamic as the frightening but magnetic Straus. Even more striking is Dean Stockwell; he is completely believable as the icily brilliant but withdrawn Steiner, subtly conveying initial vulnerability and growing strength. Fleischer aids both actors with his staging--flowing tracking shots to compliment Dillman’s feverish movement; and subtle off-kilter camera set-ups to show the unbalanced Stockwell at home among his stuffed birds.
In spite of the brilliance of the two killers, they leave some clues, enough for district attorney Horn (E.G Marshall in a fine performance) to bring them to justice. Despite their obvious guilt, lawyer Jonathan Wilk (Orson Welles) takes on the case in order to save them from death row. Fleischer obtains a bravura performance from Welles, in one of his rare outstanding performances under a director other than himself.
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