Compulsion (1959)

After years of seeing this film, a little bit here, a little bit there, I decided to watch it all the way through because a) it’s free on YouTube and b) Richard Fleischer in his autobiography reckons it’s his best.

It’s a dramatisation of the Leopold Loeb murder case in Chicago, 1924. (The same case inspired Patrick Hamilton’s Rope and ALSO the 1948 Hitchcock spinoff. Which makes you think: *why* Compulsion…?)

It stars (in order): Orson Welles (in the last-minute role of the lawyer who makes THE SPEECH ), Diane Varsi (who apparently was in Peyton Place) and (as the killers) Dean Stockwell (actually good, and the missing link between The Boy With Green Hair and Blue Velvet), and Bradford Dillman (over-acting, as in Piranha).

And it’s TERRIBLE. Welles must have been making Don Quixote at the time and JUST NEEDED THE CASH…

Fleischer got it so right with Violent Saturday and 10 Rillington Place. But HE JUST NEEDED TO WORK!

Hence: Conan The Destroyer, Red Sonja etc


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I had a stroke on July 26th, 2013. I was a screenwriter. Don’t do that anymore. But have found another way to write.

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