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Compulsion (1959) - movie overview

Compulsion (1959)

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Plot Description

Running Time
1 hour, 43 minutes

Country USA

Studio 20th Century Fox, Darryl F. Zanuck Productions

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Other Titles
• Compulsion

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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 Even more striking is Dean Stockwell; he is completely believable as the icily brilliant but withdrawn Steiner, subtly conveying initial vulnerability and growing strength.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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 Directed by
Richard Fleischer
Conan the Destroyer, Soylent Green, Red Sonja
 Written by
Richard Murphy
The Desert Rats, Broken Lance, Boomerang!
Orson Welles
Citizen Kane, The Third Man, Touch of Evil
Dean Stockwell
Air Force One, Blue Velvet, Dune
Diane Varsi
Peyton Place, Bloody Mama, Wild in the Streets
Bradford Dillman
Sudden Impact, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, The Enforcer
E.G. Marshall
12 Angry Men, Christmas Vacation, Superman II
Martin Milner
Dial M for Murder, Sweet Smell of Success, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral
Richard Anderson
Paths of Glory, Forbidden Planet, Tora! Tora! Tora!
 Music By
Lionel Newman
North to Alaska, Let's Make Love, The Boston Strangler

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Sleepers (1996)
Boston Strangler, The (1968)
In Cold Blood (1967)
Krótki film o zabijaniu (1988)
Let Him Have It (1991)

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