-> "Tied Rope"
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These guys astound—killed a kid, laid him down;
They thought they had learned how not to be found. . .
. . .out. The body then they did plant
In a chest, and one said, “We shan’t
Be discovered we can’t, shan’t
Be found out!” Cant ain’t Kant.
And they’d used tied rope, no-neck-glide rope;
They’ve got sly über-guy watch-him-die hopes.
But then one begins to feel low
And it starts to show—nervous, he nearly pants.
Even mentor Rupert’s looking askance.
Then trouble calls: Philip’s back’s to the wall,
Fevered, hot. . .nearly burns; Dall is appalled.
He says Phil’s a silly young man—
“Cool it, Philip, I know you can!”
But Phil is just a namb’-pamb’
Who will get them up jammed
About the tied rope, no-neck-glide rope,
’cause one guy’s voice goes high. . .starts to cry-mope.
The other dick starts feeling bad
Conscience pricks a tad
Still he will be a man
(In “Compulsion,” ’twas a kill-a-tot plan).
The problems for these boys balloon;
They get busted soon—
Rupert calls for the cops.
From there on, we know their problems won’t stop.
The film is based on the idea that one might murder someone just to prove that one could. Some film scholarship has found links between this idea and literature and philosophy. Suggestions have been made that Crime and Punishment and its protagonist Raskolnikov form a subtext to the film — whereby the film parallels the idea of murdering just for the sake of performing the act (the term "Crime and Punishment" is used by Granger in the film). References to Nietzsche abound throughout the film, particularly to his idea of the superman.
Rupert Cadell, as played by James Stewart.
Philip Morgan, as played by Farley Granger (Guy Haines in “Strangers on a Train”)
John Dall, plays Brandon Shaw.
Compulsion is one of several stage or screen productions based on the Leopold and Loeb trial. Other trial-inspired productions besides Compulsion and Rope include Tom Kalin's impressionistic, black and white film Swoon (1992), and John Logan's play Never the Sinner (1997). Compulsion was the title of a fictionalized account of the Leopold and Loeb trial , written in 1956 by Meyer Levin. The story concerns two wealthy Chicago teenagers, Judd Steiner and Artie Straus, who kidnap and murder a young boy, become suspects because of glasses found with the boy's body, and confess.
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