Directed by Richard Fleischer
USA 1959


  When Orson Welles speaks in any of his films, he makes words sound as if they were born of lightning. It is the same in “Compulsion” where he, as Jonathan Wilk---representing Clarence Darrow in this examination of the famous Leopold-Loeb murder case in 1924 Chicago—works not to understand the young men (Dean Stockwell and Bradford Dillman) who heinously murdered a young boy, but to seek for them the justice that is deserved without resorting to the death penalty, as Darrow was known for being against.

Welles doesn’t walk in until late in the movie when, after Judd Steiner (Stockwell) and Artie Strauss (Dillman) confess, his services are obviously needed. Before him, his growing girth and his rumbling, thunderous voice, the burning questions about Steiner and Strauss rush forth in our minds when, cleverly by the efforts of director Richard Fleischer and screenwriter Richard Murphy, we thankfully don’t see the actual murder take place, but find out about it when Sid Brooks (Martin Milner, who photographed well in black-and-white and color, by way of “Adam-12”), a budding newspaperman and fellow classmate of Steiner and Strauss, is sent by one of the writers of the Globe to the morgue to see about the young victim’s body, the condition of it, and if there are any clues to give way as to how it happened.

Excerpt from Film Threat Indie Voice located HERE

Trivia: Because Orson Welles was having tax problems during the production, at the end of shooting his salary for the movie was garnisheed by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. This upset Welles so much that just before he finished looping his dialogue in post-production, he stormed off the studio and left the country. All that was left to be looped was the last 20 seconds of his end speech in the courtroom. Incredibly, editor William Reynolds fixed this problem without needing Welles. Reynolds took words and pieces of words Welles had spoken earlier in the movie, and pieced them one by one into those 20 seconds.


Theatrical Release: April 1st, 1959

Reviews    More Reviews    DVD Reviews

DVD Review: 20th Century Fox - Region 1 - NTSC

DVD Box Cover


CLICK to order from:

Distribution 20th Century Fox Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:43:00 
Video 2.35:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.92 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.


Audio English (Dolby Digital 4.0), DUBs: French (Dolby Digital 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English, Spanish, None

Release Information:
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Video

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Theatrical trailer
• Teaser
• Fox Flix trailers

DVD Release Date: May 23rd, 2006

Keep Case
Chapters: 24




Extremely impressive image by Fox - clean, exceptional contrast and grey scale, solid detail, no untoward damage marks or scratches, progressive and beautifully rendered 2.35 anamorphic scope. The 4.0 audio was clear and consistent. The optional subtitles are yellow. The only shame of this release are the lack of extras where the film would surely support some - even, possibly, a commentary. Still, it's great to have this masterfully created film on digital in such a sterling image and uncommonly reasonable price.

Gary W. Tooze


DVD Menus


Subtitle Sample




Screen Captures















Recommended Reading in Film Noir (CLICK COVERS or TITLES for more information)

DVD Box Cover


CLICK to order from:

Distribution 20th Century Fox Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC


Hit Counter


DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

Mail cheques, money orders, cash to:    or CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Mississauga, Ontario,


Thank You!