Exploring the Mind of a Killer: A Review of The Boston Strangler

“The Boston Strangler” is a 1968 crime-drama film directed by Richard Fleischer, based on the true story of a serial killer who terrorized Boston in the early 1960s. The film features an all-star cast, including Tony Curtis, Henry Fonda, and George Kennedy, and was praised for its tense atmosphere, powerful performances, and masterful direction.

The story of the Boston Strangler begins with a series of brutal murders that took place in Boston in the early 1960s. The killer, who was dubbed the “Boston Strangler” by the media, targeted women of all ages, backgrounds, and races, and left no discernible pattern to his crimes.

The film begins with a series of vignettes that introduce us to the victims and the killer, setting the stage for the drama to come. We meet a young woman who is attacked in her apartment by a stranger, a middle-aged housewife who is strangled in her home, and a sex worker who narrowly escapes the killer’s clutches.

As the body count rises, the police are stymied in their efforts to catch the killer, and the citizens of Boston become increasingly fearful. The film follows two parallel storylines, one focusing on the police investigation and the other on the life of the killer himself.

Exploring the Mind of a Killer: A Review of The Boston Strangler

Tony Curtis delivers a powerhouse performance as Albert DeSalvo, the man who would eventually be identified as the Boston Strangler. Curtis brings a complexity and depth to the character that is both chilling and mesmerizing. He portrays DeSalvo as a troubled and tormented man, haunted by his past and driven to commit his terrible crimes.

Henry Fonda also shines as John S. Bottomly, the lead detective on the case. Fonda’s performance is understated but powerful, conveying the frustration and desperation of a man who is determined to catch the killer but is hampered by the limitations of the time and the technology available to him.

The film is masterfully directed by Richard Fleischer, who creates a palpable sense of tension and unease throughout. The scenes of the killer stalking his victims are shot in a way that is both horrifying and mesmerizing, drawing the viewer into the mind of the killer and making us feel as though we are in his presence.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the film is the way it explores the psychology of the killer. We are given glimpses into DeSalvo’s past, including a traumatic childhood and a stint in the military, that help to explain his motivations and actions. At the same time, the film resists the temptation to simplify or romanticize the killer, showing him to be a deeply disturbed and dangerous individual.

Overall, “The Boston Strangler” is a compelling and thought-provoking film that explores the darkest corners of the human psyche. It is a testament to the power of great filmmaking and great acting, and it remains a classic of the crime-drama genre. If you are a fan of true crime or psychological thrillers, this is a film that you simply cannot afford to miss.

“The Boston Strangler” received one Academy Award nomination for Best Film Editing. It was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for George Kennedy’s performance. Additionally, the film won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Motion Picture Screenplay from the Mystery Writers of America.

The cast of “The Boston Strangler” includes:

  • Tony Curtis as Albert DeSalvo
  • Henry Fonda as John S. Bottomly
  • George Kennedy as Sgt. Frank McAfee
  • Mike Kellin as Julian Soshnick
  • Hurd Hatfield as Terence Huntley
  • Murray Hamilton as Atty. John E. Bottomly
  • Jeff Corey as John Asgeirsson
  • Sally Kellerman as Dianne Cluny
  • William Marshall as Dr. Benjamin Spock
  • George Voskovec as Louis Schubert
  • Austin Willis as Edward McNally
  • James Brolin as Patrolman Phil Lisi
  • Beau Bridges as George Nassar
  • William Hickey as Eugene T. O’Rourke
  • Jeanne Cooper as Mrs. Bottomly


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