The story concerns two wealthy Chicago teenagers, Judd Steiner and Artie Straus, who kidnap and murder a young boy, become suspects because of glasses found with the boy's body, confess, and are defended by the brilliant lawyer, Jonathan Wilk. Famed attorney Jonathan Wilk based on and played by takes their case, saving them from by making an impassioned against. Although the principal roles are played by and , top billing went to. The actual killing of little Paulie Kessler, and the subsequent attempts to cover their tracks, are not so perfect however. As Judd Steiner, Dean Stockwell plays an impressionable, sensitive youth, caught up in the spell of his strong-willed companion. In his performance as the defense lawyer, Orson Welles contributes a comparatively short but the finest portrayal to this searching drama. The film is starkly shot in black and white and is set in 1924.
Compulsion received mostly positive reviews and was a modest financial success, finishing 48th on Variety's box-office charts for 1959. Hailed as courageous at the time, the film in fact portrays Judd's and Arties' homosexuality as very little more than an adjunct to their psychopathic behavior, every bit as sinister and even, perhaps as dangerous. Part of their goal in life, influenced perhaps by their admiration for Nietzsche, is to experience how it feels to do anything one pleases. Despite the distinct negative qualities, Artie has a human dimension. Welles' cunning, flamboyant lawyer is met well by the opposing state's attorney, Marshall, who gives an understated, excruciatingly patient performance of a man who knows his quarry is mortally wounded and behind which bush it hides. When it comes to the trial, noted heavyweight attorney, Jonathan Wilk Orson Welles is hired who needs to save these two young men from the death penalty.
Steiner saw the murder as a way to kill the girl within himself; Leopold dismissed such a motive in his own case as preposterous. The two men's sexuality is heavily implied even though we also see Steiner having a troubled relationship with Ruth Evans Diane Varsi. As others has mentioned, Dean Stockwell turns in the best performance in the film although that's not saying much Welles plays the role that made him famous, but here he does so without much effort or, it seems, interest; just going through his tried and tested routine. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. The success of the book led quickly to a Broadway play and acquisition of screen rights in 1957 by Darryl F. Steiner , Louise Lorimer Mrs.
They believe themselves above the law. Artie and Judd try to wriggle out of how this evidence may implicate them. All in all, it misses the key drama points that would have made for a much sharper, compelling and gritty film even in the late 50s when it was made. They are never blatant but nearly always fascinatingly professional in their deft handling of the causes and effects of an outrageous act of violence in a civilized society. The actual killing of little Paulie Kessler, and the subsequent attempts to cover their tracks, are not so perfect however. His time on the set was tense, and he threw frequent tantrums.
In Chicago in 1924, Artie Strauss and Judd Steiner are friends and fellow law students who come from wealthy backgrounds. Marshall as District Attorney Horn Crowe , and Orson Welles as Jonathan Wilk Darrow. They believe themselves above the law. In 1959, Leopold filed suit against the producers of the movie Compulsion. Simon tenant Johnson , Edward Binns Tom Daly , Robert Burton Mr. Despite their precautions, one of them inadvertently left a key piece of evidence at the crime scene, and they have been arrested and put on trial. The film does not delve on the actual murder or the 14 year old victim.
Other trial-inspired productions include Alfred Hitchcock's The Rope, Tom Kalin's impressionistic, black and white film Swoon 1992 , and John Logan's play Never the Sinner 1997. 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. If not sympathy, at least he evokes sympathy. Sid Brooks, a fellow student who also works for the Globe newspaper whom they look down upon, is astute enough to deduce that a pair of glasses found with the body do not belong to the boy and the police begin to look for their real owner. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series. They have few true friends as they believe all their contemporaries to be intellectually inferior. With the talk of Nietzsche's philosophy the period setting means you get away from the recent events of the second world war.
Synopsis In Chicago in 1924, Artie Strauss and Judd Steiner are friends and fellow law students who come from wealthy backgrounds. All other characters inspire no real interest or sympathy from the audience. Jonathan has to decide how best to defend his clients in the face of the overwhelming evidence against them. Staus , Wilton Graff Mr. The actual killing of little Paulie Kessler, and the subsequent attempts to cover their tracks, are not so perfect however.
Strauss tries to cover it up, but they are caught when police find a key piece of — Steiner's glasses, which he inadvertently left at the scene of the crime. Maybe the speech is a little too preachy. It concentrates on the two misguided young men, whose supposed intelligence soon unravels even though Straus tried to mislead the police. A bright and fascinating picture. Artie Straus Bradford Dillman is the dominant one who prompts, provokes and persuades Judd Steiner Dean Stockwell along with himself to kidnap and kill.