Dean Stockwell stars in this icky thriller, based on the infamous Leopold-Loeb murder case which shook Chicago in the 1920s. Most of the film features Stockwell and cohort Bradford Dillman, as two wealthy, sadistic criminal dilletantes bound together in a twisted dominant-submissive homoerotic pact, which leads them to kidnap and murder a young boy in their neighborhood -- all just for kicks. Dillman is compellingly grotesque as the ringleader who pushes Stockwell in violence and psychosis, and then delights in taunting the police behind their backs. This prelude is tense and gut-gripping, horrifying, in fact, but the film loses impact after they are caught and brought to trial. Orson Wells does a fine turn as the liberal lawyer who is brought in to defend them, and delivers a dazzling anti-death penalty speech, but the emotional drama of the ending is strangely muffled... Somehow, Wells's character is brought in a little too late, and there's no real interaction between him and his loathesome clients. The relevant points are made, but they don't resonate as effectively as the nauseating buildup -- Stockwell and Dillman remain unlikeable, yet their sickness and its philospohical rationalizations aren't dug into as deeply as they could have been. The confrontation of the character's gayness (and their need to disguise it before the jurors) is fascinating, though -- even though the movie was made thirty-five years after the killing took place, the filmmakers make no judgement about the homophobia involved. Anyway, as psychological thrillers go, this one's a doozy.