Reviewed on 2011 January 11
Sinister and darkly ironic take on the Leopold-Loeb murders, twisted in Alfred Hitchcock’s unique way.
The movie opens with a panoramic view of a city on a beautiful sunny day, and then cuts to a screen coming from an apartment. Roommates Phillip Morgan (Farley Granger) and Brandon Shaw (John Dall, light years away from his character in The Corn is Green) decide to commit the perfect murder, just to see if they can. They strangle their classmate David Kentley (Dick Hogan). Phillip is frightened and seems somewhat remorseful; Brandon lights a cigarette and gets a glint in his cold blue eyes as he decides to have even more fun with his crime. They stuff their victim into a trunk, set a buffet of canapés and tidbits on the lid, and then invite a bunch of bright young things — including the victim’s family — to a dinner party.
It’s an older movie with some starchy dialogue, but not really outdated, decor and women’s fashions aside. The world is full of sociopaths, unfortunately, and here I think Dall is the archetype of a smooth, good looking creature with no soul. The thought of a man being cold enough to smilingly serve someone a glass of brandy from the trunk containing the body of their child is incredibly disturbing.
Three chocolate morsels and some kind of fancy dessert from a dinner party, as long as it’s on a plain table.