The Boston Strangler

The Boston Strangler Information

The Boston Strangler is a 1968 film based on the true story of the Boston Strangler and the book by Gerold Frank. It was directed by Richard Fleischer, and stars Tony Curtis as Albert DeSalvo, the strangler, and Henry Fonda as John S. Bottomly, the chief detective now famed for obtaining DeSalvo's confession.


The first part of the film shows the police investigation, with some examples of the seedier side of Boston life, including promiscuity in the adult quarters of the city. The second part shows the apprehension of DeSalvo. Bottomly's intent is to answer the question presented in the film's famous print ad:

Why did 13 women open their doors to the Boston Strangler?


  • Tony Curtis as Albert DeSalvo
  • Henry Fonda as John S. Bottomly
  • George Kennedy as Det. Phil DiNatale
  • Mike Kellin as Julian Soshnick
  • Hurd Hatfield as Terence Huntley
  • Murray Hamilton as Det. Frank McAfee
  • Jeff Corey as John Asgeirsson
  • Sally Kellerman as Dianne Cluny
  • William Marshall as Atty. Gen. Edward W. Brooke
  • George Voskovec as Peter Hurkos
  • Leora Dana as Mary Bottomly
  • Carolyn Conwell as Irmgard DeSalvo
  • Jeanne Cooper as Cloe
  • Austin Willis as Dr. Nagy
  • Lara Lindsay as Bobbie Eden
  • William Hickey as Eugene T. O'Rourke
  • Alex Rocco as Detective at Apartment of Victim #10
  • James Brolin as Det. Sgt. Phil Lisi
  • John Cameron Swayze as T.V. Narrator
  • George Furth as Lyonel Brumley
  • Tom Aldredge as Harold Lacey



When released film critic Roger Ebert criticized the film's content, writing, "The Boston Strangler requires a judgment not only on the quality of the film (very good), but also on its moral and ethical implications...The events described in Frank's book have been altered considerably in the film. This is essentially a work of fiction 'based' on the real events. And based on them in such a way to entertain us, which it does, but for the wrong reasons, I believe. This film, which was made so well, should not have been made at all."

In the same vein, The New York Times film critic Renata Adler, wrote "The Boston Stranger represents an incredible collapse of taste, judgment, decency, prose, insight, journalism and movie technique, and yet"?through certain prurient options that it does not take"?it is not quite the popular exploitation film that one might think. It is as though someone had gone out to do a serious piece of reporting and come up with 4,000 clippings from a sensationalist tabloid. It has no depth, no timing, no facts of any interest and yet, without any hesitation, it uses the name and pretends to report the story of a living man, who was neither convicted nor indicted for the crimes it ascribes to him. Tony Curtis 'stars'"?the program credits word"?as what the movie takes to be the Boston strangler."

More recently, film critic Dennis Schwartz discussed the film's style, writing, "What mostly filled the split-screen was the many interrogation scenes, where on one side was the suspect and interrogator in the present and on the other side the suspect and his interrogator in flashbacks. Fleischer eschews the graphic violence in the murders and aims instead to try to understand the killer through the script's bogus psychology. The big things the film tried didn't pan out as that interesting, as the flashy camera work counteracts the conventional storyline chronicling the rise, manhunt, fall, and prosecution of De Salvo."


  • Golden Globe Award: Best Motion Picture Actor - Drama, Tony Curtis; 1969.
  • Edgar Award: Edgar Allan Poe Award, Best Motion Picture, Edward Anhalt; 1969.
  • American Cinema Editors: Eddie, Best Edited Feature Film, Marion Rothman; 1969.

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "The_Boston_Strangler_%28film%29" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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