I haven't seen Dancer in the Dark, perhaps I should look out for it.
I really liked Compulsion, I just felt it was a film of two halves, I admit I love real life crime programmes or films, perhaps that's why it felt like it had two halves to me. I didn't dislike his performance, I was a little taken aback by the shambling, unkempt character, I think it's because I had in my mind the Tracy character in Inherit the Wind and would a name like Darrow be so unkempt in court? I guess too it's something that has been employed time and again now in crime dramas were the unkempt, shuffling or couldn't care less types that save the day. It is powerful how we are turned around from completely abhoring what has happened and the utter immorality of what the boys have done, it's so abhorent that what can be done? They aren't insane yet the film, as the real trial must have turned on the speech made by Wilkes/Darrow in court which is an argument against the death penalty, especially when the defendants are so young. The arguments are still being raised today, are still as emotive. In In Cold Blood one of the men (the killer) has pyschological problems which weren't explored and the agony of the wait on death row is highlighted, here it's the whether we should kill anyone whatever they've done. It needed a big personality to bring off the character of the lawyer who has to swing the judge and the audience. It's just that in doing this the pacing is different and I felt slightly that Welles was grandstanding a bit but given how Hollywood treated him, I don't blame him. I too like the small town feel of the film, although it was set in Chicago I got the impression that it was a wealthy suburb. I liked Dean Stockwell but thought Bradford Dillman was equally superb as Arty Strauss, completely without any morals or guilty conscience. The theme of superman was nicely handled, enough to make us understand this aspect of their thinking. Finally I really liked Welles final words to Stockwell about the glasses, not only does he have the last word but also the last thought.
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin