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Compulsion [Import]

Orson Welles , Dean Stockwell , Richard Fleischer    NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 16.72
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Product Description

In this riveting true story about the notorious 1924 Leopold-loeb murder case, Orson Wells stars as the brillant Clarence Darrow whose history-making defense against capitol punishment saved two wealthy Chicago teenagers from a death sentence.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
A movie in two-parts, really, and Welles' entrance marks an end to the first and begins the second. I found the first half (surprisingly brutal for the 50's) better than the second. The names are changed but this is clearly Leopold and Loeb with Clarence Darrow (Welles) on defense.
One thing that annoyed me... the end when Welles invokes the name of God... Darrow would never speak those words!
My copy of this isn't the best quality. Tops of heads sometimes disappear off the top of the screen. They needed to do this letterbox. Surprising this isn't available on DVD. You can get Ernest Goes to Camp on DVD but you can't get Compulsion? What the hell is wrong with this world?
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Format:VHS Tape
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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars BOYS WIL[d] BE BOYS .......... Feb. 25 2002
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Based on the sensational Leopold & Loeb case, this very sinister version of the twisted tale is fortunately not graphic and leaves 'those things' to the imagination ....... Oh, the doings of those rich, spoiled kids!
The Cast? Who can possibly fault Orson Wells [in the Clarence Darrow role] with Bradford Dillman and Dean Stockwell as the 'spoiled charges' and the rare DIANE VARSI ["Peyton Place"] as the misplaced 'love interest'? [This was Mr. Stockwell's youthful 'glory period' - followed with "Sons and Lovers", "Rapture", etc. Utter joy to see how this artist is still providing stellar [and sometimes very underrated] performances.]
Killing just for the 'thrill of it'? Who knows, there are numerous theories about this 'liason'. Interesting though to theorize if the boys were 'working-class' instead of 'wealth'.
1991's "Swoon" is another look at this crime [little more graphic and frank about the relationship between the two] - an interesting counterpoint. AND another jagged view? Hitchcock's "Rope" [a fitting twist on this tale].
{NOW, there's also the 'mother's point of view' - "What's the Matter with Helen?" the campy litle gem with Debbie Reynolds and Shelley Winters .....}
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By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
The defense attorney Clarence Darrow (played with astonishing skill by the brilliant Orson Welles, who is today considered one of this country's finest actors ever) delivers in the last half of this movie one of the finest soliloquies Hollywood has ever offered us, equal to and probably surpassing England's Laurence Olivier in his critically praised "Hamlet" interpretation. The soliloquy by Welles is in itself worth the price of this video.
The hapless prosecuting attorney is played by E.G. Marshall, who recently died but who left us with a legacy of excellence in every picture in which he appeared (especially perhaps in "Twelve Angry Men"). A wonderfully underplayed but very sensitive performance by a master of his craft in films, stage, and television.
Brad Dillman and Dean Stockwell are right on in their portrayals of the villains who are apparently responsible for the compulsive and senseless murder of a young man. The entire cast creates some of the most realistic portrayals of good and evil that Hollywood has ever given us. Everyone in the cast seems to give it their all.
The movie is clearly, however, a product of the neo-Victorian times in which it was produced, sparing the audience the grim realism movies are currently permitted to film today. It could be more powerful if it were re-filmed today, perhaps, but could the cast of a re-make come close to matching the performances in this film?
It is worth owning this movie for its cast and direction and overall excellence...and it could be argued that the lack of the extreme violence which actually characterized the murder doesn't need to be as graphic on-screen as it probably would be if re-made today. By and large we are intelligent people and can jolly well fill in the details for ourselves.
A real treat!
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling
I found the movie to be a very accurate representation of the real murder case that shocked the world. Read more
Published 10 months ago by tara
5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling.
Brilliant performances in this one. Fans of Hitchcock's 'Rope' should give this a try. Bradford Dillman and Dean Stockwell are fascinating as the two leads. Read more
Published on Dec 2 2008 by Whisper
4.0 out of 5 stars BLUEPRINT
A well done film about the true crime that shocked the US at the time it was committed, the murder committed by Leopold and Loeb. Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2001 by EriKa
4.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat dated; some of the best acting in movie history
The defense attorney Clarence Darrow (played with astonishing skill by the brilliant Orson Welles, who is today considered one of this country's finest actors ever) delivers in the... Read more
Published on July 13 2000
4.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat dated; some of the best acting in movie history
The defense attorney Clarence Darrow (played with astonishing skill by the brilliant Orson Welles, who is today considered one of this country's finest actors ever) delivers in the... Read more
Published on July 13 2000
1.0 out of 5 stars A Period Piece, at Best
A case study of how fine performances in themselves can't guarantee a film. Sure, Welles is magnificent. Read more
Published on June 22 2000 by JR Dunn
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating, chilling film.
Of the three high profile movies that deal with the Leopold and Loeb case, (the other two being Swoon and Rope)this one is by far the best. Read more
Published on Aug. 2 1999
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Acting Adds Mystery to the Evil Twisted Minds.
It is still fascinating to see this 1959 movie in 1999! The movie survives the test of time (30 years), owing largely to Dean Stockton and Bradford Dillman, the two actors... Read more
Published on Jan. 16 1999
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