Swoon (1992) - full transcript

The true story of gay lovers, Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold Jr. who kidnapped and murdered a child in the early 1920s for kicks. The plot covers the months before the crime, the investigation, trial and final fate of the two men.

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[soft orchestral music]

[birds chirping]
[lively orchestral music]

- My blood rose in my heart.

I threw myself at her
feet and began to cry.

- [laughs] Tears, too.

- She began to laugh.

Oh, this laughter was frightful.

- [Woman In Silk] Leave me, I
don't want to see you again.

- Oh my God,

I will do whatever you
command, be your slave,

a mere object with which
you can do what you will,

only don't send me away.

I can't bear it, I
cannot live without you.

I embraced her knees, and
covered her hands with kisses.

- [Woman In Silk] Yes,
you must be a slave,

and feel the lash,
for you are not a man.

- She said calmly.

She said this with
perfect composure, not angrily,

not even excitedly, and
it was what hurt most.

- Now I know you,

your dog-like nature
that adores being kicked,

and all the more, the
more it is maltreated.

Now I know you, and you
shall come to know me.

- [Woman] She walked up
and down with long strides.

- While I remained
crushed on my knees.

My head was hanging supine,
tears flowed from my eyes.

Sit down.

- Hello, Nathan.

- [Woman] Babe!

- We're late.

[soft orchestral music]

[light orchestral music]

[glass shattering]

- [Nathan] Hey, you!

Come on!

[both laughing]

[romantic orchestral music]

- If I do what you want.

- I'll do what you want.

- [Nathan] March 4th, 1923.

Dick threw a brick

through the Paulson
Drugstore window.

June 21st, 1923.

Train ride to the
Loebs' summer cottage.

Private compartment.

September 9th, 1923.

We burned a building
near the train station.

We watched the
firemen extinguish it.

October 13th, 1923.

I've waited six weeks
since our last crime.

He's letting me down again.

[lively instrumental music]

- I'm leaving!

- Fine, go.

- Don't forget to
go to the store.

- [Nathan] I won't.

- I'm inviting the
girls over tonight.

- Whatever.
[camera clicking]

Mm, that's nice.

[lively jazz music]

[gunshots booming]

♪ Bachelors don't
learn a bit of sense ♪

♪ From their married
friends' experience ♪

♪ They just stick their
heads into the noose ♪

♪ Like a silly
sentimental goose ♪

♪ Each one thinks the
other man a fool ♪

♪ He's the one
exception to the rule ♪

♪ He says I'll be
happy when I'm wed ♪

♪ Later on he makes it

♪ When I'm dead

♪ For when you

- How's your leg?

- Hurts a little.

- And your stomach?

- Empty as a football.

- And your love life?

- Come on, babe.

- Get up.

Get up!

Get out of bed, you prick.

I went to the store.

- Good boy.

- [Nathan] You better have
that crap cleared out of here.

I'm gone in 10 days.

- Promises, promises.

♪ Wifey barely
makes the matinee ♪

♪ My wife phones for
everything we buy ♪

♪ Then she wonders why
the bills are high ♪

♪ She also drags me
out most every night ♪

♪ Does this tango

- You think you
packed early enough?

What's wrong with you?

- What's wrong with me?

You're overdue.

♪ But when you wear the ball
and chain around your ankle ♪

- They still can't figure
out who smashed that window.

It even made the papers.

♪ There's no virtue
in repentance ♪

♪ You have got to
serve the sentence ♪

♪ Which is labor

- Did you get typing
paper and stamps?

I asked you a question.

I suppose you want
your payment now.

Nathan, talk to me.

[dissonant music]

[Nathan moaning]


[glass shattering]

Nathan came along
on my crime spree,

we broke a store window.

I think he's afraid.

May 16th, 1923.

Spent the day avoiding Nathan,
reading "True Detective."

After we collect the
ransom I'll go to Mexico,

and then come back
to be a bootlegger.

- [Nathan] September 28th, 1923.

We broke into a fraternity house

and stole a camera
and a typewriter.

Dick says we can use it
for the ransom letter.

- [Dick] May 20th, 1924.

Nathan bought a chisel
and 30 feet of rope.

I'm afraid he'll
ruin everything.

Who are you addressing it to?

- Dear Sir.
[ominous music]

[typewriter keys clacking]

- Hi, this is Dick.

Babe and I want you
here for drinks at 10.

If you don't come,
we'll shave your head.

- Don't.

We still have errands to run.

- Lighten up.

You got what you wanted.

[typewriter keys clacking]

This is Dick.

Babe and I want you
here for drinks at 10.

Be there, bye.

[suspenseful music]

Wait, lemme see.


Now we just have to find
someone to kill. [laughs]

[soft old-fashioned music]

- [Announcer] President
Calvin Coolidge

today stopped in Chicago

as part of his
cross-country tour.

He spoke to the citizens
of this great city of crime

regarding the
menace of gangsters,

the corruption of bootleggers,

and the failure to
follow Prohibition.

- October 10th, 1923.

Mother died today.

I am no longer a Jew.

My mother opened
my mouth very wide

and put something in
it that tells lies.

I am not a Jew.

Such a nice thing
to put in the mouth.

- [Dick] October 12th, 1923.

Nathan Leopold says
he's not a Jew.

Well neither am I.

My father married a Catholic.

- [Nathan] November 21st, 1923.

I went to see Cecil B.
DeMille's 10 Commandments today.

People are fools, I'm an atheist

and pleased to say
that there is no God.

December 25th, 1923.

Dick and I argued about the boy.

He wants to kidnap his brother

and collect the ransom
from his father.

He wants to be a
pallbearer at the funeral.

- [Dick] December 23rd, 1923.

I don't think
Nathan will go along

with kidnapping my brother.

He only likes to read about it.

- [Nathan] April 16th, 1924.

Went to the
Edgewater Beach Hotel

with Dick Loeb and
Germaine Reinhardt.

Dick played roulette.

Germaine rolled her
stockings below the knee.

April 19th, 1924.

Best time yet.

Dick seemed to enjoy himself.

- [Dick] May 9th, 1924.

Nathan rented a
gray Willys-Knight

at the Rent-a-Car
on South Michigan.

He used the name
Morton D. Ballard.

[soft instrumental music]

- [Partygoer] I asked you,

are you still seeing
that longshoreman,

the one with all the
hair on his back?

- [Partygoer] Of
course, darling.

You know, he's very wealthy.

- [Partygoer] And you know
that's what really matters.

[all laughing]

- So, Jenny, how
do you play poker?

- Well, there's a
variety of poker games.

This one's called
five-card stud.

- What is a stud?

- That's a stud.
- Oh. [laughing]

- I'm so tired of
this bloody card game.

[door latch clicking]

- Did you get the car?

- Yes.

[keys clattering]

- Don't start.

I waited around
for hours for you

when you went to get
the rope and the chisel.

- Oh, she's in a mood!
[all laughing]

- She's always in a mood.
[all laughing]

- [Partygoer] I know exactly
what you're talking about.

[all laughing]

- Oh, no, forget it, pick it
up, pick it up, pick it up.

Start all over again.

Aces high, deuces wild,
jacks are bid at open.

Got it?
- I could use a jack.

- Girlfriend, you look
like you could use a jack.

You're flat.

- Well.

- [Nathan] I am small.

My heart is pure.

[man speaking foreign language]

- [Man] Repeat this
phrase at the tone.

[phone beeping]
[speaking foreign language]

- [Man] Repeat this
phrase at the tone.

[phone beeping]
[speaking foreign language]

- [Man] Repeat this
phrase at the tone.

[phone beeping]
[speaking foreign language]

- Oscar Wilde.

Prince Eulenburg.

Sir Roger Casement.

Marcel Proust.

E. M. Forster.

Frederick the Great.

[guests chattering]

[alarm clock ringing]


Dick, wake up.

Wake up.

We've gotta get it together.

I dreamt of the great
pharaohs of history.

Of slaves being whipped.
[whip cracking]

I dreamed I was
an Egyptian king,

and Dickie was my slave boy.

- Nathan fantasized

that he and Richard Loeb
were taking a sea voyage,

were wrecked on
an unknown island.

Patient was the
only one rescued,

was able to speak the
language of the natives.

[whip cracking]
A piano was rescued

in the wreck, and he was the
only one able to play upon it.

No one on this island
knew anything of music.

The island natives were
divided into two groups:

kings and slaves.

Nathan's companions
were all made slaves.

But because of the patient's
ability to make music

and speak the language,
he was named a king.

He then purchased Richard
Loeb as his slave.

He draped him in chains.

He fantasized that Richard was
sick when he purchased him,

and that he would nurse
Richard back to health.

He then offered
Richard three choices.

- Yes, choices.

First of all, I
would set him free

and remove the
tattoo on his thigh.

- He had a tattoo on his thigh?

- A tattoo.

We branded him in the
locker room at school.

His second option was to
remain my personal slave

in every sense of the word.

And his last choice
was to allow me

to sell him to another king.

But if I did, the other
master would abuse him.

And Dickie would send
me secret messages

begging to come back home.

He would sign our pet name.

- And what was that pet name?

- Kitten.


[man whistling]

[engine revving]

[somber orchestral music]

- [Dick] Bobby!

Want a ride home?

- [Bobby] Yeah, sure.

- [Dick] Go ahead,
get in the front seat.

- [Nathan] Hello, Bobby.

- [Bobby] Hello.

[somber orchestral
music continues]

[tense orchestral music]

[Bobby screaming]

[Nathan gasping]

[Dick grunting]
[chisel thudding]

[Nathan and Dick panting]

[Nathan sighing]

[tense orchestral music]

[soft orchestral music]

- [Woman In Silk And
Pearls] Now I know you,

your dog-like nature
that adores being kicked,

and all the more, the
more it is maltreated.

Now I know you, and you
shall come to know me.

- Do you think we
should go back?

- Relax, babe.

It'll be more perfect if we
just drive straight through.

Those idiots'll never
know what passed 'em.

Honk the horn.

[horn honking]

- Well, we went on out to
Leroy's fish and rib joint.

- [Man] All the way out there?

[horn honking]

- Look here.
- Yep.

- [Man] Who are they?

Who are they?

- [Man] All right, get back
to work, get back to work.

- [Man] Man, last time
I seen such a pretty boy

like that out here-
[shovel scraping]

- Get out.

Oh, he's dead all
right. [laughs]

He's getting stiff already.

[lighter clicking]

Grab the shoes and the shovel.

[shovel clattering]

[dirt scuffling]

[car doors banging]

[paper crinkling]

[slow tense orchestral music]

[branches creaking]

- Nathan?

You boys need help with that?

- No.

No, we're fine.

Wine, we just spilled some wine.

- Wait, Sven.

Come here.

You've just enjoyed the treat

of shaking hands
with a murderer.

[all laughing]

[soft tense music]

So you want to go
out for a drink?

- [Nathan] Look,
didn't I just tell you?

What do I have to say to you?

- That's the last time
I take you any place.

- Why don't you just shut up?

[phone beeping]

[telephone ringing]

- Hello?

- Your son has been kidnapped.

He is safe.

There will be further
instructions in the morning.

- Who is this?

What do you want?

- Johnson.

- Good night.

[wings flapping]

[birds chirping]
[film projector whirring]

[bird calling]

[animals chittering]

[razor scraping]

[flashbulb popping]

- The man who wrote
this letter was either

an amateur at
typing or a sadist.

- May I help you, Mr. Leopold?

I have several new specimens
I'd like to show you.

- Oh, no, thank you,
I have to leave.

- You see how some of the
letters are punched so hard

they're almost driven
through the paper?

Others were struck tentatively.

[bird calling]

[soft tense music]

[phone beeping]

- This is Johnson,
listen closely.

In 10 minutes, a car will
arrive at your house,

take you to the drugstore

on the corner of
Cottage Grove and 65th.

There you will receive
further instructions.

You must travel
alone, call no one.

[both laughing]

- What did he say?

- I've forgotten the address.

- [Announcer] Train
from Des Moines,

arriving on track
six, all aboard.

- Do you think we've
waited long enough?

- Yeah.

Even if the traffic were
bad, he'd be there by now.

- [Man] Hello?

- Hello, is this the
Cottage Grove Drugstore?

- [Man] Yes, it is.

- [Nathan] Would you see

if there's a Mr.
Franks in the store?

- [Man] I'm the only one here.

- Just look.
- There's no one in the store.

- Are you certain?

- [Man] Yeah, pal, I'm certain.

- Where are your glasses, babe?

[soft music]

- [Announcer] Police go
undercover in an attempt

to apprehend the degenerate
kidnapper of Bobby Franks.

The mayor has declared a
city-wide state of emergency.

Police are desperately
searching for the owner

of the eyeglasses found
at the scene of the crime.

They announced that
the ransom letter

was typed on an
Underwood portable.

They suspect bootleggers,
dope fiends, or perverts

are responsible for the murder.

At Hartford School for Boys,

bachelor schoolteachers were
taken in for questioning.

- I would ask everyone in
Chicago to look around him,

and to note whether

neighbors, friends,

showed signs of muddy
clothes, shoes and so forth.

Or muddy and dirty automobiles.

And who was away from their
usual haunt and calling

on Wednesday
afternoon and night.

- I think whoever did it

should be tarred,
feathered, and hung.

- I agree completely.

Whoever did this
must be some kind of

deranged pervert, to kill
a little boy like that.

- Absolutely.

- I still can't believe
it, what a terrible loss.

- It is.

- May I be excused?

- What for this time?

- I just remembered, I have
to stop by Nathan's house.

- Again?

- Yes, again.

[hammer banging]

- What the hell are you doing?

How did you get in here, anyway?

- You wanna get
caught, don't you?

If you could get pregnant,
you would, wouldn't you?

It's a typewriter, babe,
it's a fucking typewriter.

They can trace the letter.

They can find us because
you lost your glasses.

- No.

No way, they're common, the
frame, the prescription.

I mean if you think I
should go to the police

and claim them, it's fine,
I have the perfect alibi.

I took my birding
class there Monday.

- [Dick] No, no.

I just got excited.

Put it in the box, no
one will recognize it.

- There's also that
rug in the trunk.

Go for a drive?

- One condition.

I drive.

- Fine.

Great, just don't kill me.

- You lucky shit, I can't
believe you're leaving.

- Neither can I.

I shall sail on the
Mauritania to Europe.

I'll spend the ransom
money in casinos, drinking.

I'll visit all the great cities.

I shall return to
Harvard, become a lawyer,

get married and raise a family.

[ship horn blaring]

[water splashing]
[dog barking]

- [Dick] May 23rd, 1924.

Destroyed the typewriter,
burned the shoes,

hid the chisel, burned
the rug and the clothing.

I think we're finally finished.

[flames blazing]

[distant train horn blaring]

[ominous string music]

- [Nathan] May 23rd, 1924.

Kelly and Bobby Franks together

would join Richard
and I for life.

I wanted to murder the idea
of suffering as my condition.

I wanted to surpass the
boundaries of intelligence

for something more pure.

[soft ominous music]

- [Man] So, you would say that
you're absolutely positive

these glasses do
not belong to you?

- [Nathan] Yes.

- [Man] And you're
certain of that.

- [Nathan] Definitely.

- [Man] Why?

- [Nathan] Those
are not my glasses.

- These are not yours?

Very common frame,
everyone has them, right?

Let's see, you bought these
from Albert Coe and company

on May 24, 1923.

The hinges, Mr. Leopold,

the hinges are newly
patented, rare.

Only three pairs sold in
Chicago with your frames.

In fact, here's a
copy of your receipt.

- Well, Nathan,

I suppose Detective Savage
would like to accompany you

to your house to
find these glasses.

- Let's go.

[phone ringing]

[elevator bell dinging]

- Is everything all right?
- I believe so.

Your brother was going to
show us his pair of glasses.

- Babe, are you all right?

Do you need a lawyer?

- I'm fine, Mike.

I have nothing to hide.

[quirky instrumental music]

- The girls' names again?

- Edna and May.

- What did they look like?

- [Nathan] Edna had red
hair, May was a brunette.

- Exactly where did
you pick them up?

- 18th and Roosevelt Road.

- What time was it?

- [Dick] About six o'clock.

- What exactly did
you do with them?

- We went for a drive.

- Whose car were you driving?

- My car.

- Did you engage in any sexual
relations with these girls?

- Yes, we did.

- Where did you drop
the young ladies off?

- Back at 18th Street.

- What time was that?

- About 8:15.

- Did you engage in any sexual
relations with these girls?

- Yes, we did.

- Where did you say you
went, in Lincoln Park?

- In the rookery.

And we looked at birds.

- What kind of birds
did you see, Richard?

- I don't know, Nathan's
the ornithologist.

- What'd you have for dinner?

- How much did
you have to drink?

- What time did you get home?

- I said, one o'clock.

- Who was there?

- My father.

- How late did your
father stay up?

- At what time did
you take Richard home?

- Whose car were you driving?

- My car.

- What time was that?
- Six o'clock.

- The girls names, again?

- Did they say why
they took him in?

- They think the
glasses are his.

It's impossible, Dad.

It's a mistake.

- That's right.

A mistake.

- Excuse me.

Pardon me.

I've brought pajamas
for the young man.

If you're gonna
keep him overnight.

- Yeah, fine, put them down.

- You know, I'm certain

they have nothing to
do with the crime.

They couldn't have
driven anywhere.

Least of all that swamp.

I know, I was fixing young Mr.
Leopold's car in the garage.

- You were?

- Absolutely.

[children chattering]
[soft music]

- Richard Loeb?

Come with me.

[clock chiming]

- Richard.

- Yes?

- Your alibi is a lie.

There was no Edna, and no May.

You and Mr. Leopold did
not go looking for birds

in Lincoln Park,
just one small boy.

Oh, Nathan's family's
chauffeur just dropped off

some pajamas for the evening.

He mentioned, he's
absolutely certain that

he was working on Nathan's car

the day of the murder.

- He said that?

- [Man] Yes.

- Go ahead, eat.

It's from the Berghof.

- I'm not hungry.

This was completely his idea.

He's very clever.

- Who?

- Nathan.

Nathan did all of this.

He invented the fake names.

He was Morton G. Ballard,
I was Louis Mason.

We rented a hotel
room, for the address,

and then went to the
Rent-a-Car on Joliet

and used the assumed names.

I think I got that idea
from a detective magazine.

But he made the phone calls
and he rented the car.

- Where'd you get the
money for the car?

And the hotel room?

- My allowance.

- Why'd you kill Bobby Franks?

- I didn't kill Bobby Franks.

Nathan did.

I don't know.

He was a friend of
my little brother's.

Nathan wanted a little boy.

He wanted Johnny Levinson.

But we couldn't
find him that day.

He said his father was
the richest Jew in town.

- Both you boys are Jewish.

- Yes.

It was the money.

You know, we knew the Franks
lived down in Hyde Park,

so we knew they
could get the cash.

- And after you finished,
and you had the ransom,

what were you going to do?

- Nothing.

Nathan was supposed to sail
to Europe for the summer.

He was supposed to leave
today, in fact. [chuckles]

I didn't care as
much about the money.

It was the planning.

It was all going so well,

up until the end.

Do you read detective magazines?

- No.

Oh, yeah, what about the
Rent-a-Car in Joliet?

What about your assumed
identity, Mr. Morton D. Ballard?

Who do you think told
me about Louis Mason?

Your friend says you're the
one who killed Bobby Franks.

[Nathan exhaling]

- Get a stenographer.

- You're aware that
there's some kind of talk

that the two of you had
homosexual relations.

- Yes, sir.

- And you're aware
of the fact that

you're thought to be the
aggressor, in this relationship.

- Yes, sir.

- Which, as a matter
of fact, was the truth.

- Yes.

- Now, in your original plan,

did you have anyone...

Did you have anyone
to be the victim?

- Nobody in particular.

- When did you
choose Bobby Franks?

- When we saw him,
by pure accident.

- Now, this letter that
you already prepared,

and the envelope and the
address where to deliver it-

- Yes.

- When did you, exactly,
write that letter?

- The day before.

- And who was it addressed to?

- To no one, just "Dear Sir."

- Oh, so, it was after,
that you chose Bobby Franks,

that you addressed the letter.

- Yes.

- Now,


in the swamp.

How did you attempt to conceal
the body in the culvert?

- I think it was headfirst.

I had a pair of rubber boots.

- Was it much of a job,
to push the body in?

- At first I didn't
think it would fit.

But then after I started,
it wasn't very hard at all.

- Oh.

- Richard helped me.

- And so you pushed in as far
as you could with your hands,

and then you used your
feet to push it in further.

- Yes.

[knocking on door]

Hello, Dad.

- I would advise my son
to say nothing more.

- "We turned the corner.

Mr. Leo,

Mr. Loeb

put his hand over Bobby's mouth,

and hit him over the
head with his chisel.

Bobby started to scream,

so Richard seized him and
pulled him into the back seat.

He forced a cloth in his mouth."

Apparently the boy died of
suffocation shortly after.

- Would you please read
Mr. Loeb's statement now?

- I was driving.

Mr. Leopold was
in the back seat.

I stopped the car

and asked Bobby if he
wanted a ride home.

He got in the front seat.

Mr. Leopold grabbed his mouth

and hit him over the
head several times

with his chisel, I do not
know the exact number.

He began to bleed and was
not entirely conscious.

He was moaning.

- Okay, fine, I have
some corrections.

First of all, we
started planning this

as early as November, 1923.

In the second place, the
suggestion was his, not mine.

The Rent-a-Car is not at
14th Street but at 16th.

I did not buy the chisel
with tape, he did.

The rubber boots are not
my brother's, but my own.

At the time the Franks
boy entered our car,

I was driving, not Mr. Loeb.

Mr. Loeb was in the back seat.

It was Mr. Loeb who struck
Bobby Franks on the head

with the chisel, not I.

Mr. Loeb returned to
his home at one o'clock,

not 10:30, as he seems to think.

- No, I never said that,

I said I went to
your house at 10:30.

There are certain corrections
that Leopold had made

that are not important.

Such as, 14th Street.

And the boots being his
instead of his brother's,

which doesn't amount to a damn.

He wrapped the chisel, not me.

And he doesn't mention
the original plan

to use ether to
kill Bobby Franks.

He was supposed to do that.

'Cause I don't know a
damn thing about it,

he chloroforms birds
and things like that.

He knows ornithology,

and I don't know a
damn thing about it.

He did it.

Nathan Leopold Junior.

He was up in the front seat.

I said he was up
in the front seat.

I mean I was up
in the front seat.

It's obviously a mistake,
I'm getting excited.

Look, I tried to help you out,

because I thought if
worse comes to worse,

you'd admit what you had done

and not try to drag
me into this thing.

That's all I have to say.

- Those are all absurd lies.

He's trying to get
out of this mess.

I was driving the car,
I'm absolutely positive.

I'm sorry that you
were made a fool of,

and broke down and ruined
everything and all that.

I am sorry, but it
wasn't my fault.

[whip cracking]
[gavel banging]

[soft tense music]

[flashbulb popping]

- Richard, what
about your family?

- My mother doesn't believe it.

Even now, I'm sure she
doesn't think I did it.

That hurts.

A mother's faith, a
disgrace to my family.

[flashbulb popping]

I could've carried this secret

in my mind the rest of my
life, it didn't bother me much.

A thought or two at
times, that's all.

- Today, the amazing
case of Angel-face Loeb

and Mastermind
Leopold will be heard

before Judge William Caverly
in Chicago City Court.

Veteran defense
attorney Clarence Darrow

avoided the jury by admitting
the guilt of his clients.

After Sigmund Freud declined
to examine the boys,

Darrow hired the best
alienists in the country

to study the deranged duo.

- This compact existed
for over a year.

Do you want me to be specific?

- [Clarence] Absolutely.

- [Judge] You may proceed.

- Nathan was to
have the privilege

of inserting his penis
between Dickie's legs,

[crowd exclaiming]
at special dates.

At one time this was to
be three times in a month,

if they continued
their criminalistic
activities together.

Later they had a
tremendous fight,

and then it was
once for each crime.

- Your Honor, I do not
suppose this should be taken

in the presence of
reporters or women.

- [State's Attorney] He's
your witness, Mr. Darrow.

People have a right to know
about their perversions.

- Sustained.

I want this court
cleared of women.

[women exclaiming]

[gavel banging]

I want every woman to
leave this courtroom.

[gavel banging]

I have asked the ladies to
leave, now I want you to leave.

If you do not, I
will ask the bailiffs

to escort you into the hallway.

There's nothing left here

except a lot of stuff that
is not fit for you to hear.

[crowd chattering]

[gavel banging]

[gavel banging]
[soft orchestral music]

You are permitted to go
into every detail, Doctor.

- Where was I?

- You were discussing
Dickie and Babe's pathology.

- Your Honor, if the
defense is proposing

that thees bloodless
murderers are insane,

I call for a jury.

- Overruled.

Continue, Doctor Bowman.

- They experimented
with mouth perversions.

Nathan has many fantasies.

I would like to say

that this whole thing is
just an absurd situation,

because there's nothing

but putting his penis
his friend's legs

and experiencing some
sort of a thrill.

He says he gets gets
excited anticipating it.

Dickie would
pretend to be drunk,

and Babe would undress him.

- [State's Attorney] I object,

these killers are
grown men, Your Honor.

Not Dickie and Babe,
for God's sakes.

- Overruled.

Continue, Dr. Bowman.

- [Dr. Bowman] Babe
blackmailed Dickie

with his knowledge
of other crimes.

He threatened him with exposure

if Dickie did not submit to it.

And Dickie had to go
along with Leopold.

[gavel banging]

- They stripped the
body as planned,

poured hydrochloric acid
over the face, penis,

and an identifying
scar on the abdomen.

Some of the hydrochloric
acid ran into the mouth,

discoloring the face.

They hoped the acid would
dissolve the boy's identity.

Richard said he had a brother

who had a peculiarly
shaped penis, he thought.

And it was that feeling
that made him think

of using this method to
prevent identification.

- His first actual
sex experience,

namely, the use, or
misuse, of his organ,

was on a boy, Henry, two
years older than himself.

He masturbated by rubbing
his genitals with a towel,

producing an erection
and ejaculation.

This quite interested
the patient.

The two boys saved the
discharge and put it in a jar.

Later, they lost interest in it.

- Nathan, you have to admit,

smart or not, you're
in a huge mess.

- Listen, I don't
feel sorry for myself.

I did it and that's all.

I feel terrible for my
father and my brothers,

but not for myself.

Life is what we make it,

and I appear to have made
mine exactly what it is today.

[flashbulb popping]

- At night, he would lie
on his side or stomach,

with his arms under the
pillow, hugging the pillow,

and he would notice
a warm smell,

which would be partly
from the pillow,

and partly from his own body.

He regarded this odor

as extremely pleasant.

At about the same time,

he developed a great love

for the symmetry
of the human form.

[gavel banging]

- He does recall the story

of how the robin
got his red breast.

Namely, that when
Jesus was on the cross,

all the animals in the
world, except the fish,

came there to mourn.

One tender-hearted bird tried
to pluck the crown of thorns

and was stabbed in the breast.

And became covered with blood.

The patient is not clear

whether this blood is
from the bird's own heart

or whether it's from
the head of Christ.

The boy acts as if he were
a law unto himself alone.

[soft emotional music]

- During the trial,

on a porch across the street
from the Franks' home,

we found a human head,

two withered human arms,

and a single discolored
leg arranged in the shape

of a pirate's skull
and crossbones.

There was an envelope between
the elbows of the two arms,

addressed to Chicago,
City of Crime.

The note said,

"If the court don't
hang them, we will."

It was signed, KKK.

[gavel banging]
- It's too bad

you didn't get to them
before I got them.

Then they wouldn't have
said anything at all.

And this murder
would be unavenged.

- Strike that out.

- It's not the
enforcement of law,

to capture people and
compel them to talk.

- We didn't compel them to talk.

- [laughs] No?
- No, they began talking,

we couldn't stop them.

- [Clarence] Yeah, well
I know about that, too.

- They wanted to show how
really smart they were

about their perfect crime.

Your Honor, bearing
in mind the testimony

which has been
whispered into your ear

by the defense alienist
concerning fantasies,

I would remind the court that
the basic motive in this case

is the desire to
satisfy unnatural lusts.

Your honor, you have before
you the coroner's report,

which says that when little
Robert Franks was examined,

his rectum was
distended by this much.

- I object, I
strenuously object.

The coroner's report
absolutely refutes

any implication of
sexual abuse to the boy.

The body left in-

- [Judge] Your objection
is sustained, Mr. Darrow.

There is no evidence to support
sexual abuse to the child.

[flashbulb popping]
[gavel banging]

- I didn't want any
mistakes this time.

Look at me, if I walked
away this minute,

none of you could tell
me what I'm wearing.

I'm wearing a gray tweed coat.

Dick is in a black
suit and a white shirt.

- Oh, shut up, Babe.

[soft music]

- [Announcer] Due to protests

by the local League
of Women Voters,

women were allowed
in the courtroom

for the final address.

- The coroner's report says

that he had a distended rectum.

From that fact,

and from the fact that
his pants were removed,

and from the fact that
these two are perverts,

I have the right to argue

that they have committed
an act of perversion.

[crowd muttering]

These two inverts shall pay
the penalty upon the gallows.

And when they realize this,

you will find that
they have emotions.

You will find that
they have fear.

And you will find

these cowards will have to
be carried to the gallows.

In the name of the people
of the state of Illinois,

in the name of the
fatherhood, and the womanhood,

and for the children,

we are asking for
death by hanging

for these two
cold-blooded murderers.

Do not let them go free

or allow their spawn to
be thrown to society.

[gavel banging]

- [Announcer] Nathan
Leopold and Richard Loeb

received sentences
of life plus 99 years

in a decision which
outraged the public.

[soft tense music]

[dramatic banging]

- [Man] Nathan Leopold's
criminal nature

can be discerned in the
contours of his face.

The slope of nose and
the tilt of his chin

indicate his cunning
and deceptive nature.

Although he blames Richard
Loeb for the murder,

his profile proves
him a compulsive liar.

The patient's sexual pathology

can be detected in his
abnormally large pineal gland.

It was this unfortunate
imbalance of his sex urges

which compelled him to
kill without feeling.

Richard Loeb's low
sense of self-esteem

is revealed by the
shape of his forehead

and the curve of his lips.

His fascination with crime

and a lack of moral values
can be directly attributed

to his upbringing by a Catholic
mother and Jewish father.

Due to a subnormal
pituitary gland,

he was unable to resist
the powerful influence

of Nathan Leopold.

It was this
unfortunate deficiency

which led him into crime.

And subsequently
destroyed his life.

[clippers buzzing]

[soft tense music]

♪ Richard, Richard Loeb

- [Nathan] Get the
hell outta here, Boyd.

- [Boyd] What's the
matter, pretty boy?

You miss your little boyfriend?

- [Nathan] Scram, you better
stay the hell outta my way.

- [Boyd] Oh, little pussy
boy-killer's gettin' tough.

[dramatic banging]

[whip cracking]

[whip cracking]

[whip cracking]

[heart thudding]

[ominous music]

[door banging]

[bars rattling]

- [Man] Leopold, hey Leopold.

You hear about your old man?

- No.

- [Man] Well he
kicked the bucket.

[whip cracking]

- [Nathan] January 3rd, 1929.

After my father died, I
was abandoned by everyone

except for my aunt
and my brother Mike.

[inmates laughing]

I spent my days
studying languages,

reading, thinking about Dick.

- [Dick] December 14th, 1935.

I've been in prison
for over 10 years.

I was locked in the hold
for fighting with James Day.

I'm afraid of him.

He's out of control.

I was abused in prison,

it was a very pleasant thought.

I enjoyed being at looked
at through the bars

because I was a famous criminal.

[water running]

[prisoners chattering]

[ominous music]

♪ Richard

[man grunting]

[razor clattering]

- [Man] Hey, James Day, whoa.

- Forceps.
- Forceps.

- [Man] Blood
pressure's dropping.

Pressure, I need a sponge.

The artery's still bleeding.

Blood pressure's still dropping.

We need pressure.

Another suture, quickly.



Quickly, I need a
clamp, clean this wound.

Another suture, quickly.

His temperature's dropping.

We might lose him.

[heartbeat thudding]

- The warden has given
him permission to be here.

- [Doctor] He's gone.

We could do nothing
to stop the bleeding.

- Would you like me
to perform last rites?

- [Nathan] No, he's Jewish.

[dramatic banging]

- Now, tell us what
happened in there.

- He pulled a razor on me.

Sick faggot.

Told me it was my turn.

He'd been after me for weeks.

He offered $20 to suck me off.

- Watch your language, son.

- Well, I pretended
to go along with him

when he told me to
take off my clothes,

then I caught him off guard,
kicked him in the balls.

He dropped the razor.

We wrestled on the floor,
I got control of the knife.

And I cut him.

Blood flew all over my face.

Then I slashed him again,

he fell against the
sill of the shower.

Then I reached over and I
turned the hot water on,

and he slumped against the wall.

Then he got up, real slow.

His eyes were big and starry.

He put everything he
had into a lunge at me-

- I don't believe a word of it.

I know for a fact

that Mr. Day attempted
to solicit Richard Loeb.

And Richard refused.

Look at the boy's
record, he was the one

who had to be removed
from Richard's cell.

He was out of control.

His past record
indicates multiple counts

of sodomy and assault.

- [Announcer] Richard
Loeb brutally slaughtered.

Boy-killer gets his due.

Prison fight ends in death.

- Dickie Loeb, a
brilliant college student

and master of the
English language,

today ended a sentence
with a proposition.

Loeb caught his loved
one alone in the shower.

The Negro was apparently
defenseless against the youth,

who still thought himself

the embodiment of the
Nietzschean super-man.

Dickie Loeb approached
the fearful Negro prisoner

with the same smile that had
proved so fatally charming

to Bobby Franks.

When he had the Negro in the
corner of the shower stall,

Dickie threw
himself on his knees

before the naked black body

and clutched his
captive around the legs,

determined to satisfy his lust.

All he got for his
shower of kisses

was a shiv between the shoulders

wielded by the powerful
arm of the black man

who was revolted by the touch
of Loeb's slobbering lips.

[Nathan wailing]

After a brief trial and
50 minutes of deliberation

by the jury, James Day
was found not guilty.

[water sloshing]
[soft orchestral music]

[Nathan sobbing]

[dramatic banging]

- [Nathan] March 4th, 1936.

For six months I was kept
locked up in the St. Marion

as the murderer of Richard Loeb.

The following year I
was constantly escorted

by prison guard.

[dramatic banging]

[soft music]
- Now I know you,

your dog-like nature
that adores being kicked,

and all the more, the
more it is maltreated.

Now I know you, and you
shall come to know me.

[knocking on door]

- It's open.

- They sent me in here.

- No, I sent for you.

Take off your shirt.

If I fog your x-rays, you'll
get a better work assignment.

It looks like asthma.

Step behind this
curtain, please.

Ladies and gentlemen,

that is my prepared statement.

Now bear with me for a moment.

There are one or two
things I would like to say

off the cuff, as it were.

In my religion, the
Jewish religion,

we have some very
beautiful prayers.

One that has always
been my favorite

is the Kaddish.

It begins [speaking
foreign language],

which means,

magnified and

sanctified, be his great name.

The very word Kaddish
means sanctification.

For a good many years,

I wondered why this
long, lovely prayer,

which is said at the close
of all Jewish religious...

- [Man] Nathan Leopold
moved to Puerto Rico

immediately following
his release from prison.

He had been in prison
for over 33 years.

In Puerto Rico, he worked
as an x-ray technician

and married Gertrude
Feldman Garcia.

He frequently defied his
parole responsibilities,

drinking, staying
out past curfew,

communicating with
prisoners and ex-prisoners.

Frequenting houses
of prostitution.

Keeping guns for birding.

Traveling without permission.

In 1956, Meyer Levin
fictionalized his life

in the novel "Compulsion."

A film based on the
novel appeared in 1958.

Nathan Leopold tried
unsuccessfully to
sue Meyer Levin

for willful misrepresentation
of his character.

He died on August 30th, 1971,

in the Memia Hospital
near San Juan.

He had willed his eyes

to the University of
Puerto Rico eye bank,

and his body for research.

Immediately after his death,

his eyes were
successfully transferred

to a blind woman.

[wings flapping]

[soft old-fashioned music]

♪ Bachelors don't
learn a bit of sense ♪

♪ From their married
friends' experience ♪

♪ They just stick their
heads into the noose ♪

♪ Like a silly
sentimental goose ♪

♪ Each one thinks the
other man a fool ♪

♪ He's the one
exception to the rule ♪

♪ He says I'll be
happy when I'm wed ♪

♪ Later on he makes it

♪ When I'm dead

♪ For when you've got the ball
and chain around your ankle ♪

♪ And the stony-hearted
jailer is your wife ♪

♪ There's no virtue
in repentance ♪

♪ You have got to
serve the sentence ♪

♪ Which is labor hard for life

♪ You've a number and you
bet your wife has got it ♪

♪ Any hope of a reprieve
is all in vain ♪

♪ Matrimony is the crime

♪ For which they've
got you doing time ♪

♪ While your ankle wears
the ball and chain ♪

♪ I am up and out
at break of day ♪

♪ Wifey barely
makes the matinee ♪

♪ My wife phones for
everything we buy ♪

♪ Then she wonders why
the bills are high ♪

♪ She also drags me
out most every night ♪

♪ Does this tango stuff
while I get tight ♪

♪ We can't keep a
cook but half a day ♪

♪ As a rule we
eat at some cafe ♪

♪ But when you wear the ball
and chain around your ankle ♪

♪ And the stony-hearted
jailer is your wife ♪

♪ There's no virtue
in repentance ♪

♪ You have got to
serve the sentence ♪

♪ Which is labor hard for life

♪ You've a number and you
bet your wife has got it ♪

♪ Any hope of a reprieve
is all in vain ♪

♪ Matrimony is the crime

♪ For which they've
got you doing time ♪

♪ While your ankle wears
the ball and chain ♪

♪ I am up and out
at break of day ♪

♪ Wifey barely
makes the matinee ♪

♪ My wife phones for
everything we buy ♪

♪ Then she wonders why
the bills are high ♪

♪ She also drags me
out most every night ♪

♪ Does this tango stuff
while I get tight ♪

♪ We can't keep a
cook but half a day ♪

♪ As a rule we
eat at some cafe ♪

♪ But when you wear the ball
and chain around your ankle ♪

♪ And the stony-hearted
jailer is your wife ♪

♪ There's no virtue
in repentance ♪