Friday Night Movie number 64 – Compulsion

Tonight’s offering is a true crime story, or rather a fictionalised story of a very famous crime from 1920’s America.

‘Compulsion’, is a film made in 1959 starring Orson Welles as a lawyer who abhors the death penalty and is loosely based on the famous Leopold and Loeb case. For those who do not know Leopold and Loeb were the student offspring of wealthy families who decided to try to commit the perfect crime. Their ‘perfect’ crime was the kidnap and murder of a 14 year old boy. The murderers tried to make the thrill-kill murder look like a kidnap for ransom.

Unfortunately for Leopold and Loeb, they were undone by the fact that the car they were said to have been in had not moved from the garage also the rest of their concocted alibi rapidly fell apart. They were also nailed by the fact that on of them was wearing a pair of glasses that was readily recognisable and also traceable to Leopold.

Because of their age and the quality of their lawyer Leopold and Loeb didn’t hang as many people at the time thought they should, but were given life imprisonment.

This film is based on the fictionalised novel of the account written by Meyer Levin and published in 1957.

I had not encountered this version of the Leopold and Loeb case and I found it gripping and interesting. I enjoyed this film immensely and the courtroom scenes were quite well done.

Even if you don’t like true crime or courtroom dramas, this film is really worth a try and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.