Both of these pictures are real good pictures that happen to be inspired by the Leopold and Loeb murder case. Who those two are is two rich kids who thought they were smarter than everyone else and above the law and decided to kill one of their cousins and destroy the body with acid just for the thrill of it.
Rope is Alfred Hitchcock’s picture which started the real time gimmick where you try to make the movie look like it was all done in one shot. The movie is actually done in 8 shots because you can’t put that much film on a camera I mean gimme a break, it’s too much. So they shoot until the roll of film is about to run out and then they zoom into the back of a guy’s jacket and then zoom out from the jacket on the next roll of film and you pretend it’s continuous.
But the gimmick really works to creat a day-in-the-life feel and a sense of holy shit what’s gonna happen tension. And this is a great movie, all taking place in the apartment of these two pricks who, at the very beginning, have just killed their buddy and locked him in a big chest. But these two like to rub it in so what they’ve done, they’ve invited the dead guy’s parents, girlfriend and buddies over for a dinner party, and they set up the food on top of the chest that the body is in. They want the thrill of really pushing their luck and boy do they get it. I mean these fuckers are sick, especially the one guy, I think he probaly has a boner the whole time to be frankly honest.
Right away the guests start worrying about where is the dead guy, because he’s supposed to be there. And I mean he is there, but they don’t know it, and they don’t know he’s the dead guy. To him he is just some alive guy I guess. The tension comes when they keep asking the Rich Boy Killers if they’ve talked to alive guy that day or what not. And as the guests get too close to the chest, or as the Rich Boys get nervous or too cocky and say real suspicious shit.
Jimmy Stewart is in this one, his first picture with Hitchcock. ANd he plays the boys’s teacher who like them likes to talk shit about how murdering stupid people is justified. They invited him for a challenge, because they knew he knew them better than anyone else and was more likely to piece together what was going on. Well even THIS prick might think the Rich Boys have gone too far, and you can tell he suspects something fishy and then you watch as he gets closer and the Rich Boys get more nervous and, you know what I’m saying. It’s great acting, great filmatics, lots of tension and suspense this is one of my favorites from Mr. Al Hitchcock.
Compulsion is more closely based on the Leopold and Loeb case but the characterizationing is extremely similar – one taller guy who takes charge, one creepy younger guy who is more nervous but thinks he’s better than the other guy. And the acting is maybe even better than in Rope. In this one we skip right over the actual murder and then watch them as they frantically cover their tracks. You see it was supposed to be the perfect crime but this dipshit, he left his glasses at the crime scene (same thing happened in the real case). I mean you see what I’m sayin guys, it’s the Universe. No matter HOW perfect your perfect crime is you ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS do some stupid shit that gets you caught, like tell your alibi wrong or leave your birth certificate folded up in the dead guy’s backpocket or shake a cop’s hand when you have blood on your hand or who know’s what. I mean every fucking time. I wish it wasn’t so but it just is and that’s why crime don’t pay unfortunately. Hate to break it to you.
Anyway these rich pricks don’t get enough attention from their daddies and they are the smart kids that don’t really fit in and what not. The problem is they get that smart kid disease that they think they got more smarts than everyone else and that turns into everyone else is inferior. These guys are really into Nietszche’s Superman philosophy and they think emotion is for the weak. (can you believe this bullshit?) They want to prove they are Superman by committing horrible crimes with complete emotional detachment like Superman would do if he turned evil I guess, I don’t know how it works exactly. If you look at it though it is surprisingly similar to those kids that shoot up high schools these days, this homicidal-disaffected-picked-on-rich-smart-kids thing is not exactly new.
So you don’t really like these kids AT ALL but it is interesting and suspenseful to watch their crime get less and less perfect as the police and the media investigate and as they make more mistakes in their coverup. One kid is more remorseful than the other, and when he is talked into doing an attempted rape “emotionally detached” he just ends up crying. But even then the guy can’t see the error of his ways, in fact he seems even more proud of his murder because he wants to prove that he is Superman and not some weakling.
Well they’re not Superman, or if they are then they must have run into some kryptonite. Because eventually of course the kids get caught and the surprise is then it turns into a 100% different but equally great movie. Now it is a courtroom drama starring Orson Welles as a famous defense attorney stuck with the hopeless case of the rich boy killers. What he ends up doing, he admits they did it and that they are couple of fucking scumwad pricks, but says that they should get life in prison because executing them is exactly the kind of cold, calculated, pre-meditated thrill kill bullshit that these fucknuts did. I mean jesus GROW UP people is basically what he tells the court, but in a 10-15 minute monologue. Maybe it sounds corny but it is very well written and acted. I happen to think Orson Welles is an underrated talent, I mean he did some good pictures in his time look em up. But anyway I don’t want to get political here but as a Positive individual I gotta say the guy is obviously right, I mean knock it off people jesus.
Anyway, here’s two good movies for you, but it seems like THREE good movies. Even those of you who are too chickenshit to watch old black and white movies, here are a couple good ones to start you off, they have a real modern sensibility in my opinion and I think you will like them both unless you’re some kind of a pussy or whatever, then okay you don’t have to like them I will accept that you big pussy.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.