Saturday, October 20, 2012

From Hitchcock to Welles: Leopold And Loeb On Film

Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were two college boys, brilliant and mad, who decided to kill a younger boy in 1924 to see if they could commit the “perfect crime.” After they were caught, their trial turned into a media circus—the “trial of the century” starring their world famous lawyer Clarence Darrow. He was a hell of a lawyer, and he saved them from the hangman’s noose. They got life, plus ninety-nine years. When one of them was murdered in prison just a few years after their incarceration, the papers mocked his passing. The other boy served thirty-plus years, got out, married, and died of natural causes as an old man.

Why are we still so fascinated with Leopold and Loeb? It’s been nearly a hundred years since they murdered a fourteen-year-old named Bobby Franks, but we’re still talking about the case. Numerous books have been written about them and nearly as many movies have been inspired by their crime. As recently as 2005 there was an Off-Broadway musical about them. What’s the appeal?

For more, read my essay over at Criminal Element.

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