7.1/10
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The Boston Strangler (1968)

Approved | | Crime, Drama, Mystery | 16 October 1968 (USA)
A series of brutal murders in Boston sparks a seemingly endless and increasingly complex manhunt.

Director:

Richard Fleischer

Writers:

Edward Anhalt (screenplay), Gerold Frank (book)
Reviews
Popularity
3,979 ( 628)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tony Curtis ... Albert DeSalvo
Henry Fonda ... John S. Bottomly
George Kennedy ... Phil DiNatale
Mike Kellin ... Julian Soshnick
Hurd Hatfield ... Terence Huntley
Murray Hamilton ... Frank McAfee
Jeff Corey ... John Asgeirsson
Sally Kellerman ... Dianne Cluny
William Marshall ... Edward W. Brooke
George Voskovec ... Peter Hurkos
Leora Dana ... Mary Bottomly
Carolyn Conwell Carolyn Conwell ... Irmgard DeSalvo
Jeanne Cooper ... Cloe
Austin Willis Austin Willis ... Dr. Nagy
Lara Lindsay ... Bobbie Eden
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Storyline

Boston is being terrorized by a series of seemingly random murders of women. Based on the true story, the film follows the investigators path through several leads before introducing the Strangler as a character. It is seen almost exclusively from the point of view of the investigators who have very few clues to build a case upon. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

This is the true story of Albert DeSalvo, the self-confessed Boston Strangler, and of what he did to thirteen women and one city. See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Edward Winter. See more »

Goofs

A shot of Tony Curtis, in a doorway, includes a 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado in the background, at a time (in the story) which is supposedly 1963-64 (shortly after JFK's funeral). See more »

Quotes

Sgt. Frank McAfee: So the women were strangled with a double square knot.
Sgt. Frank McAfee: What are you trying to tell us, that it was a doctor or an Eagle Scout?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Closing credits epilogue; ALBERT DESALVO, PRESENTLY IMPRISONED IN WALPOLE, MASSACHUSETTS, HAS NEVER BEEN INDICTED OR TRIED FOR THE BOSTON STRANGLINGS.

THIS FILM HAS ENDED, BUT THE RESPONSIBILTY OF SOCIETY FOR THE EARLY RECOGNITION AND TREATMENT OF THE VIOLENT AMONG US HAS YET TO BEGIN. See more »

Alternate Versions

The original UK cinema version suffered heavy BBFC cuts with edits to shots of a woman's dead body, the murder scenes, and the removal of graphic descriptions of the murder victims. Video versions were cut by 1 min 5 secs and reduced the torture of Dianne Cluny to a series of flash shots by removing facial closeups, a shot of her kicking, and detailed footage of her arms and legs being tied to the bed. The cuts were fully restored in the 2004 TCF widescreen DVD. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Trailer Trauma (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Give Me the Simple Life
(uncredited)
Music by Rube Bloom
Played in the bar when Di Natale is talking to Carr
See more »

User Reviews

Fiction
16 February 2002 | by rmax304823See all my reviews

There is a big problem with this movie -- aside from the unecessary and distracting use of the split screen, a passing fad ripped off from Warhol's Chelsea Girls. The first half is an almost flawless police procedural. It doesn't stick to historical facts all that much. Bottomly was a political nobody whose main job was to keep the public thinking that something was being done. The second half deals with Albert DeSalvo the man and is pretty much hyped up and fictional. It turns from a good docudrama into a standard piece of Hollywood baloney. Not a reflection on Tony Curtis's performance. He's better here than in most of his performances, some of which -- Some Like It Hot and The Outsider -- are pretty good. But, first, there is a lot of controversy surrounding the diagnosis of multiple personality disorder. MPD is when two or more whole and integrated personalities inhabit the same body. It may or may not be "real" and in any case is easily faked. And DeSalvo didn't "have it." I don't mean to harp on the issue of historical accuracy. Sometimes, as in Shakespeare in Love, it really doesn't matter much, but in this case it does because it's used as a deus ex machina that resolves all the questions the actual facts raise. Interviews with DeSalva make it clear that he knew exactly what he was doing when he was doing it. And he didn't need help in remembering the facts. He recalled all of the details, including the state of his penis, while he committed the murders. The film changes history and turns him into just another dramatic case of MPD. Nothing is said about his admission that he was also a criminal rapist known to the police as "the green man," who, in the guise of a talent scout, went around measuring girl's busts and hips, thousands of them by his admission. The film also leaves out any reference to his escape from jail and his subsequent recapture wearing a sailor's uniform. He never had the anxiety attack shown in the film. He never went over the edge into irredeemable psychosis. Any competent shrink in reviewing the case would diagnose the real Boston strangler as a socialized type of anti-social personality disorder, the kind of illness that used to be called "psychopath." He was a con man, pure and simple. The ending is dramatic but it's nothing but fictional trash designed to lull an unthinking audience into the belief that even the most loathsome and darkest aspect of human nature has a comprehensible explanation. The twisting of fact is understandable, however. The real, historical explanation, or the lack of it, would give not only the Boston strangler but all the rest of us an anxiety attack. Some people commit thoroughly rotten acts -- and none of the rest of us knows why.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 October 1968 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Boston Strangler See more »

Filming Locations:

Boston, Massachusetts, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,100,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$9,439
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Twentieth Century Fox See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

4-Track Stereo (Westrex Recording System)

Color:

Color (Color by Deluxe)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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