Orson Welles, famous for Citizen Kane once quipped about his career, “I started at the top and have been working my way down ever since”.
Always something of a gun for hire, when not directing , he always turned in interesting performances adding a touch of class to some very ordinary material.
Now and again he beat the odds and electrified good material with a brilliant performance.
This film is one of those diamonds that sparkled and kept lit a truly original talent.
In this long awaited DVD release he plays the legendary Clarence Darrow, the American Court room lawyer who became more famous than any of his notorious clients.
In 1924 two wealthy students planned and executed the murder of a young boy to pass the time and see if they could get away with it!
A lost pair of glasses directly implicated them in the murder.
Such premeditation and cruelty warranted execution.
The case was the “Leopold and Fleischer” murder trial and this story was also the basis for Alfred Hitchcock’s film “Rope”.
That film tells of the murder, this movie is its aftermath.
How do you explain the inexplicable and invite the mercy of the Court?.
In a spell binding closing speech Welles (apparently in one take) mesmerises his jury and us his audience.
This is truly a great film and one that remains relevant in our world of today.
Look out also for a young Dean Stockwell as one of the accused.
The film is well crafted and holds the viewer’s attention throughout .
COMPULSION available on DVD. Second Sight 20th Century Fox
STAR RATING 8/10