Leopold and Loeb  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Nathan Freudenthal Leopold, Jr. (November 19 1904August 30 1971) and Richard A. Loeb (June 11 1905January 28 1936), more commonly known as Leopold and Loeb, were two wealthy University of Chicago students who murdered 14-year-old Bobby Franks in 1924, and received sentences of life in prison.

Their crime was notable in being largely motivated by an apparent need to prove the duo's belief that their high intellects made them capable of committing a perfect crime, and also for its role in the history of American thought on capital punishment.

In popular culture

Leopold and Loeb have been the inspiration for several works in film, theater, and fiction, such as the 1929 play Rope by Patrick Hamilton, which was performed on BBC television in 1939 and served as the basis for Alfred Hitchcock's film of the same name in 1948. Fictionalised versions of the events were also included in Meyer Levin's 1956 novel Compulsion and its 1959 film adaptation. Never the Sinner, John Logan's 1988 play (subsequently revised for its 1995 Chicago production) was based on contemporary newspaper accounts and made explicit a homosexual relationship between the two killers.

The case served as inspiration for numerous works, including Richard Wright's 1940 novel Native Son, Tom Kalin's 1992 film Swoon, Michael Haneke's 1997 film Funny Games (and an American shot-for-shot remake in 2008); Barbet Schroeder's Murder by Numbers (2002); Stephen Dolginoff's 2005 Off-Broadway musical Thrill Me: The Leopold and Loeb Story; and various TV episodes (including on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit).

The character of Don Draper makes a passing reference to Leopold and Loeb in an episode of Mad Men.

Bibliography and films




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Leopold and Loeb" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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