The Boston Strangler (1968)

“[inside sanitarium] But… I don’t belong here…. I-I guess everybody says that, don’t they?” – Albert DeSalvo

Number of Times Seen – 1 (21 Apr 2020)

Brief Synopsis – Based on the true story of how the Boston police tracked down the notorious serial killer who strangled his victims.

My Take on it – This is a film that I had never heard of before I started trying to find more Henry Fonda films to watch in order to expand my knowledge of his films.

The case described here is a very familiar one but I’m sure that back when this was made, the story felt much more pertinent and actual to the viewers than it does over 55 years after the events.

The film has a great cast led by Fonda and Tony Curtis yet they fail to give us a great debate between the characters as one might expect from a cat and mouse chase followed by an interrogation of a suspect.

We can feel the drive that their character have but something still feels too superficial in the way they are represented and it’s quite difficult to care about them as things move along.

The movie is shot in a way that tries to utilize split screen technology, but instead of making things more interesting and thrilling, it drags things down too much.

None of the characters in the story on both sides of the law have enough depth and that hurts things too much because they all come across as being far too superficial than one would expect from a story like this that instead should be more impactful and absorbing.

Bottom Line – Interesting film that was quite actual when it was made but things in retrospect aren’t as thrilling as one might hope. The cast of this is also quite good but they never really give us enough of a debate between the characters as one would expect from and cat and mouse chase followed by an interrogation.  Both Fonda and Curtis are great actors and we can feel the drive that they both seem to have but the way things are presented take away from the story due to its overuse of split screen technology that is meant to make things more thrilling, but instead drag things down. Despite this, none of the characters have enough depth which hurts things since superficial characters on both sides of the law lessens the impact of such a tale.

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Shortly before filming was set to begin, the real Albert DeSalvo escaped from the mental institution where he was imprisoned. He was later captured after being on the run for thirty-three hours. (From IMDB)

Rating – BAFTA Worthy (5/10)


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2 thoughts on “The Boston Strangler (1968)

  1. I liked this one a lot better than you did. Saw it when it originally was released. I thought it really captured the paranoia permeating Boston at the time of the murders And for any who still doubted Tony Curtis as an actor -I thought he was excellent in this. And should have been Oscar nominated IMO. He donned brown contact lenses over his blue eyes and wore a prosthetic nose to closer resemble DeSalvo. Even managed a decent Boston accent to cover up his well known (and oft mimicked Brooklyn accent). I thought the direction was really fascinating and the interrogation of DeSalvo by the cop (Fonda) in the mirrored room was a terrific touch.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1968 | MovieRob

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