The Boston Strangler (1968)

Film with fantastic imagery for its time- and even now

Film with fantastic imagery for its time- and even now.


INTRODUCTION. The Edinburgh International Film Festival doesn’t only feature new or independent releases! I recently made the very good decision to watch this and was rewarded with an engrossing, thrilling movie that does its reputation justice. Even more impressive is the fact that the plot is grounded in true events- a truth that makes you wonder, as the movie tagline asserted in 1968: “Why did 13 women willingly open their doors to the Boston Strangler?”

CHARACTERS. Many of the side personalities are solid; amusing without being remarkable. Tony Curtis is stunning as the titular character and it is a performance you are unlikely to forget soon. There is something both repulsive and compelling about his particular circumstances; I won’t reveal further details if you (like me) don’t have much knowledge of the actual case before going to see the film. Our other main character, Henry Fonda, is… well he’s Henry Fonda. A likeable character who is reluctantly pushed on to center stage and takes to it with alacrity. I couldn’t keep my eyes off either of them the entire time. 

STORY. It’s no high-speed thriller but The Boston Strangler is likely to keep you riveted the entire way through if you’re interested in crime dramas or the like. Zodiac, Se7en, etc. Many of the murder scenes are brutal without being explicit. As an audience we are startled not only by brutality but by the manner in which the film’s detectives are able to take it in stride. So brace your brain and ready your guts. Before our screening, Chris Fujiwara had given a short speech about Director Richard Fleischer’s use of a split screen technique. It’s an interesting thing to consider, the notion of aspect multiplicity and blind spots, as you experience the story.

CONCLUSION. A classic film that will keep you on the edge of your seat while also conveying a very real message about disturbed individuals in society.

Yours Truly,


STORY: 9/10

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