The Boston Strangler

1968

Action / Crime / Drama / Mystery / Thriller

8
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 88% · 17 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 74% · 250 ratings
IMDb Rating 7.1/10 10 10809 10.8K

Top cast

William Hickey as Eugene T. O'Rourke
James Brolin as Sgt. Lisi
Tony Curtis as Albert DeSalvo
William Marshall as Edward W. Brooke
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.04 GB
1280*544
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 56 min
Seeds 3
2.14 GB
1920*816
English 5.1
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 56 min
Seeds 8

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by AlsExGal 8 / 10

Tony Curtis in a very unglamorous role

This highly fictionalized account of the Boston Strangler cases of 1962-1964 has some flashy direction by Richard Fleischer and boasts some great usage of multi images and split screens which is used to show, among other things, roommates going about some mundane household task in one screen while another roommate is shown laying murdered in another.

The film is divided rather neatly into two parts. The first half is a police procedural with a couple of colorful detectives checking out tips and equally colorful possible suspects as the victim count rises. Albert DeSalvo (Tony Curtis) is captured - and for that matter first appears - at the halfway point. The second half consists of a character study and psychological profile of DeSalvo as he is extensively interviewed and questioned by assistant D. A. John Bottomly (Henry Fonda).

The part about DeSalvo having multiple personality disorder as well as how he was caught is completely false, but the anecdote about the psychic was true - A psychic really was employed who gave a completely accurate description of a suspect in the case who also turned out to be totally innocent. This episode greatly embarrassed the attorney general.

Made the same year that the production code officially ended, it dealt with sex crimes quite frankly and in a way that would have been considered unthinkable just five years before. The supporting cast has a deep bench and includes George Kennedy, Sally Kellerman, William Hickey, Hurd Hatfield, Mike Kellin and in small roles people like Alex Rocco and James Brolin. If you can deal with a true crime film that has quite a few falsehoods in it for the purpose of dramatic license, I'd recommend this one.

Reviewed by preppy-3 8 / 10

Good, well-done thriller

Fictional account of the Boston Strangler--a maniac who killed about 12 women in the Boston area from 1962-1964. Most of the main actors just walk through their roles--Henry Fonda and George Kennedy especially. But Tony Curtis (who doesn't appear until an hour into the film) is surprisingly good as the strangler. Most people don't think of him as a good actor but as this and "Sweet Smell of Success" proved, he COULD give out a good performance. This was a very tricky role but he pulled it off. The last half hour especially--it's basically one long confession but he's excellent.

The film is exceptionally well-directed--the split screen is a bit disorienting at times but, ultimately, it helps the film. It keeps you on edge. It's also very interesting to see what Boston looked like in 1968. The only sour spot is there is some homophobia in the movie...but this does take place in '62-'64 and they did think the strangler was a gay man.

From what I've heard this film was not a big hit when released which probably explains why it took so long to get out on DVD. It's probably one of the best serial killer movies ever made and the multiple screens look great on DVD.

Well worth seeing if just for Curtis' performance.

Reviewed by MartinHafer 7 / 10

Probably a lot of psychological mumbo-jumbo, but very well made.

My background is not typical of the average viewer. Years ago, I used to be a psychotherapist and I worked with some very, very sick people. In addition, I taught psychology. So I have some idea what I am talking about when I say this film is probably a lot of psychological mumbo-jumbo. Let me explain. Back in the 1950s, the book and movie "The Three Faces of Eve" created a sensation. Suddenly this new diagnosis of Multiple Personality Disorder (now called Dissociative Identity Disorder) was identified and the number of cases was very large for a newly named mental illness. And, when the TV mini-series "Sybil" came out, the number of cases increased dramatically. Then came the bombshell--the lady who identified herself as 'Eve' admitted that her illness was a hoax--and there was good reason to doubt the account in "Sybil" as well. And, each time a movie or book came out on the subject, the number of cases increased! Something was clearly amiss. Today many counselors and psychologists doubt that the disorder actually exists. I am not sure I'd go that far, but do know that many folks who claim to have it do so in order to avoid prison--as there is clearly a gain for them to be 'sick'. So, in light of this (and so much more I haven't the space for here), it's very doubtful that the killer in "The Boston Strangler" actually had the Multiple Personality you see in the film. He more likely used this as an excuse for his sick behaviors. Instead, sex offenders often 'compartmentalize'--in other words, while they KNOW what they did, they often deny it to themselves and others--treating their sick behaviors like it happened 'to another part of them'. Despite the distinct possibility that MPD does not exist, it does NOT make "The Boston Strangler" a bad film. First, at the time, MPD was seen as a very real thing by most therapists. Second, the film is very well constructed, finely acted and interesting throughout.

The film is about a real series of rape/murders in the Boston area and the man who is assumed to have been the perpetrator, Albert DeSalvo. The entire first hour is about the investigation and furor over the killings and you don't even see DeSalvo (Tony Curtis) until this hour is complete! This makes this movie perhaps the only one I know of where you wait this long to see the star! I liked the investigation portion the most, as it was NOT glamorized but seemed rather realistic. As for Curtis, soon after he enters the film, you see him committing one attack---and you can clearly see it's him for the first time. This attack doesn't go as he planned, however, and for the first time he's left a living witness. Soon after, he's caught while trying to break into another home. The problem is not whether or not he did the crimes but whether or not he's even competent to stand trial for them. Overall, a fascinating portrait of the investigation and the killer. Well worth seeing and a quality production despite the strong possibility DeSalvo was NOT a Multiple Personality.

By the way, the first portion of the film consists of a bizarre multi-paned screen--with several scenes occurring in little windows. The only other film of the time that I can think of that did this is "The Thomas Crown Affair".

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