Winner of the Cannes Film Festival Best Actor Award for all three of its stars (Stockwell, Dillman and Welles), Richard Fleischer's stylish and compelling thriller sees two law students murder a young boy in cold blood to prove their intellectual superiority. Sadistic bully Artie Straus (Bradford Dillman) and timid introvert Judd Steiner (Dean Stockwell) commit the 'perfect crime', but their arrogance leads to their arrest. Loosely based on the notorious 1924 murder trial of thrill-killers Leopold and Loeb, this outstanding film also features cinema legend Orson Welles... as the criminal defence lawyer who takes on their case. Special Features: New 4K restoration The Guardian Interview with Richard Fleischer (1981, audio only): the award-winning director discusses his career after a screening of Compulsion The Guardian Interview with Richard Fleischer (1994): Fleischer returns to the NFT for this filmed interview Orson Welles in the Courtroom Scene from Compulsion (1959, audio only): reproduction of the original 7 vinyl Lobby cards, posters and stills gallery Original theatrical trailer Optional DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio HoH subtitles on the feature and the trailer [show more]
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Orson Welles stars in this 1950s crime drama based on the novel by Meyer Levin, which in turn is based on a real legal case that took place in 1920s Chicago. Two wealthy law students, Judd Steiner (Dean Stockwell) and Arthur Strauss (Bradford Dillman), decide that they can get away with committing the perfect murder. They kidnap and kill the teenage son of a millionaire, but a pair of spectacles left at the crime scene leads to them being identified as the murderers. Their families hire America's top lawyer Jonathan Wilk (Welles) - a known opponent of the death penalty - to defend them in their trial, and Wilk goes on to make American legal history by successfully arguing in favour of a life sentence rather than the pair's execution.