Gregg Araki is an American filmmaker. He noted for his heavy involvement with the New Queer Cinema movement, his film Kaboom was the first winner of the Cannes Film Festival Queer Palm. Araki was born in Los Angeles on December 1959, to Japanese American parents, he grew up in nearby Santa Barbara and enrolled in college at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He graduated with a B. A. from UCSB in 1982. He attended the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts, where he graduated with a M. F. A. in 1985. Araki made his directorial debut in 1987 with Three Bewildered People in the Night. With a budget of only US$5,000 and using a stationary camera, he told the story of a romance between a video artist, her sweet-heart and her gay friend. Two years Araki followed up with The Long Weekend, another film with a US$5,000 budget, his third film, The Living End, saw an increase to US$20,000. He had to shoot his early movies spontaneously and lacking proper permits. Despite the financial constraints, Araki's films received critical acclaim.
He received awards from the Locarno International Film Festival and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, with an additional nomination for a Sundance Film Festival award. Araki's next three movies—Totally Fucked Up, The Doom Generation, Nowhere —were collectively dubbed the "Teen Apocalypse trilogy"; the trio has been characterized as "... teen alienation, hazy sexuality and aggression." A former student of his at UC Santa Barbara, Andrea Sperling, co-produced the films with him. The trilogy saw Araki work with more notable actors and actresses including Rose McGowan, Margaret Cho, Parker Posey, Guillermo Díaz, Ryan Phillippe, Heather Graham, Mena Suvari among others; the trilogy received varying degrees of reviews, from a thumbs down and "zero stars" by Roger Ebert to "Literally the Best Thing Ever" by Rookie, being heralded as cult classics. Araki's following film, was both a response to the controversy surrounding his ongoing relationship with actress Kathleen Robertson and an homage to screwball comedies of the 1940s and 1950s.
Hailed as the director's most optimistic film to date, it made its premiere at the 1999 Sundance Film Festival. Araki's next project was the ill-fated MTV production This Is How the World Ends, planned with a budget of US$1.5 million. He viewed it as a chance to reach the masses through MTV's viewership and signed on to do the project despite the budget being cut to US$700,000. Araki wrote and shot the pilot episode, but MTV decided against the project and the effort never aired. Following a short hiatus, Araki returned in 2004 with the critically acclaimed Mysterious Skin, based on the 1995 Scott Heim novel of the same name; this marked the first time. Araki's next feature was the stoner comedy Smiley Face, featuring Anna Faris, Adam Brody, John Krasinski, written by Dylan Haggerty, it marked a stark change from the dark, heavy drama of Mysterious Skin, a change purposely planned by Araki. It received favorable reviews, with some describing it as another of Araki's potential cult classics. Kaboom made its premiere at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.
It was awarded the first Queer Palm for its contribution to lesbian, gay and transgender issues. Araki followed that film with White Bird in a Blizzard, given limited release to mixed reviews. One consistent feature of Araki's work to date is the presence of music from the shoegazing genre as film soundtracks, first seen on Totally Fucked Up and so on the films Nowhere and Mysterious Skin. Both The Living End and Nowhere owe their titles to this shoegaze influence. In 2010, Kaboom was named the first winner of the Cannes Film Festival Queer Palm. Araki has been honored with the 2006 Filmmaker on the Edge Award at the Provincetown International Film Festival. In 2013, Araki was recognized by the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City with the retrospective God Help Me: Gregg Araki. Araki has self-identified as "a gay Asian American". Contrary to the statement, beginning in 1997 he had a relationship with actress Kathleen Robertson, that ended in 1999. In a 2014 interview, Araki said that " don’t identify as anything", adding " identify as gay at this point, but have been with women".
Gregg Araki on IMDb Young, F***ed: A conversation with Gregg Araki and other members of The Doom Generation in Bright Lights Film Journal
Todd Haynes is an American independent film director and producer. He is considered a pioneer of the New Queer Cinema movement of filmmaking that emerged in the early 1990s. Haynes first gained public attention with his controversial short film Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, which chronicles singer Karen Carpenter's tragic life and death, using Barbie dolls as actors. Haynes had not obtained proper licensing to use the Carpenters' music, prompting a lawsuit from Richard Carpenter, whom the film portrayed in an unflattering light, banning the film's distribution. Superstar became a cult classic. Haynes' feature directorial debut, Poison, a provocative, three-part exploration of AIDS-era queer perceptions and subversions, established him as a formidable talent and figure of a new transgressive cinema. Poison won the Sundance Film Festival's Grand Jury Prize and is regarded as a seminal work of New Queer Cinema. Haynes received further acclaim for his second feature film Safe, a symbolic portrait of a housewife who develops extreme allergic reactions to her suburban life.
Safe was voted the best film of the 1990s by The Village Voice Film Poll. Haynes' next feature, Velvet Goldmine, is a tribute to the 1970s glam rock era, drawing on the rock histories and mythologies of David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed; the film received the Special Jury Prize for Best Artistic Contribution at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival and an Academy Award nomination for Best Costume Design. Haynes gained critical acclaim and a measure of mainstream success with his 2002 feature, Far from Heaven. Inspired by the cinematic language of the films of Douglas Sirk, Far From Heaven is a 1950s-set melodrama about a Connecticut housewife who discovers that her husband is gay and falls in love with her African-American gardener; the film received four Academy Award nominations, including Best Original Screenplay for Haynes. His fifth feature, marked another shift in direction. A nonlinear biopic, I'm Not There depicts various facets of Bob Dylan through seven fictionalized characters played by five actors and an actress.
I'm Not There received critical acclaim and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for Cate Blanchett. In 2011, Haynes directed and co-wrote Mildred Pierce, a five-hour mini-series for HBO, which garnered 21 Emmy Award nominations, winning five, as well as four Golden Globe Award nominations and a win for lead actress Kate Winslet. In 2015, Haynes returned to the big screen with Carol, his sixth feature film and the first film not written by him. Based on Patricia Highsmith's seminal romance novel The Price of Salt, Carol is the story of a forbidden love affair between two women from different classes and backgrounds in early 1950s New York City; the film received critical acclaim and many accolades including a nomination for the Palme d'Or, six Academy Award nominations, five Golden Globe Award nominations, nine BAFTA Award nominations. Haynes was born January 2, 1961, in Los Angeles, grew up in nearby Encino, his father, Allen E. Haynes, was a cosmetics importer, his mother, Sherry Lynne, studied acting.
Haynes is Jewish on his mother's side. His younger sister is Gwynneth Haynes of the band Sophe Lux. Haynes developed an interest in film at an early age, produced a short film, The Suicide, while still in high school, he studied semiotics at Brown University, where he directed his first short film Assassins: A Film Concerning Rimbaud, inspired by the French poet Arthur Rimbaud. Haynes studied art and semiotics at Brown University prior to his bigger roles on the big screen. At Brown, he met Christine Vachon. After graduating with a BA in Arts and Semiotics, Haynes moved to New York City and became involved in the independent film scene, launching Apparatus Productions, a non-profit organization for the support of independent film. According to Cinematic/Sexual: An Interview with Todd Haynes, Haynes responded to Justin Wyatt's question, asking whether his academic background affected his film-making practice. Haynes replied saying his high school teacher taught him a valuable lesson that Reality can’t be a criterion for judging the success or failure of a film, or its effect on you.
It was a simple, but eye-opening, way of approaching the film." This shaped Haynes' style within his professional career. In 1987, while an MFA student at Bard College, Haynes made a short, Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, which chronicles the life of American pop singer Karen Carpenter, using Barbie dolls as actors; the film presents Carpenter's struggle with anorexia and bulimia, featuring several close-ups of Ipecac. Carpenter's chronic weight loss was portrayed by using a "Karen" Barbie doll with the face and body whittled away with a knife, leaving the doll looking skeletonized; the film is notable for staged dream sequences in which Karen, in a state of deteriorating mental health, imagines being spanked by her father. Superstar featured extensive use of Carpenter songs. Haynes failed to obtain proper licensing to use the music, prompting a lawsuit from Karen's brother Richard for copyright infringement. Carpenter was also offended by Haynes' unflattering portrayal of him as a narcissistic bully, along with several broadly dropped suggestions that he was gay and in the closet.
Carpenter won his lawsuit, Superstar was removed from public distribution.
Tom Kalin is a screenwriter, film director and professor of experimental film at European Graduate School in Saas-Fee. His debut feature, Swoon, is considered an integral part of the New Queer Cinema. In addition to his feature work, Kalin has created a number of short films, many of which are collected in the compilations Behold Goliath or The Boy With the Filthy Laugh, Third Known Nest and Tom Kalin Videoworks: Volume 2. Much of Kalin's work touches on issues of homosexuality and AIDS, he was ACT UP and Gran Fury. His work has won much critical acclaim and garnered a number of awards and nominations, including honors from the Berlin International Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Tribeca Film Fest and a number of gay and lesbian film festivals. Kalin won the Gotham Awards Open Palm Award and has been nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards. Kalin's last project was Savage Grace, Savage Grace tells the story of the 1972 Barbara Daly Baekeland murder case and stars Julianne Moore as Baekeland.
Tom Kalin has taught graduate-level filmmaking classes at Columbia University School of the Arts, is lecturing at the European Graduate School in Switzerland. He is a 2011 Guggenheim Fellow. Tom Kalin was born into a lower middle class Irish-Catholic family in Illinois, his household consisted of 11 siblings with the oldest being 19 years older than Kalin. Kalin received a BFA in painting from the University of Illinois in 1984 and a MFA in Photography and Video from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1987. In the 1980s and 1990s, Tom Kalin worked with ACT UP and was one of the founding members of the AIDS activist artist coalition called Gran Fury. Gran Fury created public service announcement videos such as "Kissing Doesn't Kill," part of a campaign that included postcard mailing and city bus advertisements, whose intent was to raise awareness of the failures in government response. During the 1990s, Kalin began a project called Third Known Nest where he made a short 3-4 minute film every year that reflected the loss and pain caused by the AIDS epidemic.
In an interview with the La Guardia and Wagner Archives, Kalin describes his belief in the importance of filmmaking: "I think there's something valuable about making work and being honest about it in ugly times. It's easy to make work in the happy times of life, but what I think is beneficial to other people is to try to be honest about painful, difficult times in your life, I think of that as that. I think of me telling the truth about what happened in a kind of indirect way – they're lyrical, short films. Unlike the 1948 Alfred Hitchcock film about the case called Rope, Swoon sought to depict a stylized allegory relevant for an era filled with fear about the AIDS crisis and anger towards an unresponsive government; the reception to Swoon was mixed at locations such as at the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, causing criticisms about the film's presentation of homosexual deviance. The film's purpose was not negative representation but was instead inspired by anger towards social causes for injustices such as the AIDS crisis, the 1986 Bowers v. Hardwick case, used criminalize homosexuality.
Kalin wanted to make a "radical, political movie in a genre form," setting his story in a film noir background. The total cost of the film in 1992 was $250,000, shot in 16mm within 14 days. Savage Grace The Robots of Sodom Third Known Nest Plain Pleasures Nomads Geoffrey Beene 30 Nation Swoon Third Known Nest Office Killer Geoffrey Beene 30 Nation Swoon I Shot Andy Warhol Go Fish Swoon Tom Kalin Faculty Page at European Graduate School. Biography, bibliography and video lectures Tom Kalin at Internet Movie Database Photo of Tom Kalin Kalin's Saving "Grace" Tom Kalin in the Video Data Bank 2008 Bomb Magazine Tom Kalin interviewed by Bette Gordon
Rope is a 1948 American psychological crime thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, based on the 1929 play of the same name by Patrick Hamilton. The film was adapted by Hume Cronyn with a screenplay by Arthur Laurents; the film was produced by Hitchcock and Sidney Bernstein as the first of their Transatlantic Pictures productions. Starring James Stewart, John Dall and Farley Granger, this is the first of Hitchcock's Technicolor films, is notable for taking place in real time and being edited so as to appear as a single continuous shot through the use of long takes, it is the second of the first being Lifeboat. The original play was said to be inspired by the real-life murder of 14-year-old Bobby Franks in 1924 by University of Chicago students Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb. Two brilliant young aesthetes, Brandon Shaw and Phillip Morgan, strangle to death their former classmate from Harvard University, David Kentley, in their Manhattan penthouse apartment, they commit the crime as an intellectual exercise.
After hiding the body in a large antique wooden chest and Phillip host a dinner party at the apartment, which has a panoramic view of Manhattan's skyline. The guests, who are unaware of what has happened, include the victim's father, Mr. Kentley, aunt, Mrs. Atwater. There are his fiancée, Janet Walker, her former lover, Kenneth Lawrence, once David's close friend. Brandon uses the chest containing the body as a buffet table for the food, just before their housekeeper, Mrs. Wilson, arrives to help with the party. "Now the fun begins", Brandon says. Brandon and Phillip's idea for the murder was inspired years earlier by conversations with their prep-school housemaster, publisher Rupert Cadell. While they were at school, Rupert had discussed with them, in an approving way, the intellectual concepts of Nietzsche's Übermensch, De Quincey's art of murder, as a means of showing one's superiority over others, he too is among the guests at the party, since Brandon in particular thinks that he would approve of their "work of art".
Brandon's subtle hints about David's absence indirectly lead to a discussion on the "art of murder". Brandon appears calm and in control, although when he first speaks to Rupert he is nervously excited and stammering. Phillip, on the other hand, is visibly morose, he starts to drink too much. When David's aunt, Mrs. Atwater, who fancies herself a fortune-teller, tells him that his hands will bring him great fame, she is referring to his skill at the piano, but he appears to think this refers to the notoriety of being a strangler. Much of the conversation, focuses on David and his strange absence, which worries the guests. A suspicious Rupert quizzes a fidgety Phillip about this and about some of the inconsistencies that have been raised in conversation. For example, Phillip vehemently denies strangling a chicken at the Shaws' farm, though Rupert has seen Phillip strangle several. Phillip complains to Brandon about having had a "rotten evening", not because of David's murder, but because of Rupert's questioning.
As the evening goes on, David's father and fiancée begin to worry because he has neither arrived nor phoned. Brandon increases the tension by playing matchmaker between Kenneth. Mrs. Kentley calls, overwrought because she has not heard from David, Mr. Kentley decides to leave, he takes with him some books Brandon has given him, tied together with the rope Brandon and Phillip used to strangle his son. When Rupert goes to leave, Mrs. Wilson accidentally hands him David's monogrammed hat, further arousing his suspicion. Rupert returns to the apartment a short while after everyone else has departed, pretending that he has left his cigarette case behind, he asks for a drink and stays to theorize about David's disappearance. He is encouraged by Brandon, who hopes Rupert will understand and applaud them. A drunk Phillip is unable to take it any more. But, the cat and, the mouse?" Rupert finds the body inside. He is horrified and ashamed, realizing that Brandon and Phillip used his own rhetoric to rationalize murder.
Rupert disavows all his previous talk of superiority and inferiority seizes Brandon's gun and fires several shots out the window to attract attention. As police sirens approach, Rupert pulls up a chair next to the film ends; the film is one of Hitchcock's most experimental and "one of the most interesting experiments attempted by a major director working with big box-office names", abandoning many standard film techniques to allow for the long unbroken scenes. Each shot ran continuously for up to ten minutes without interruption, it was shot on a single set, aside from the opening establishing shot street scene under the credits. Camera moves were planned and there was no editing; the walls of the set were on rollers and could silently be moved out of the way to make way for the camera and replaced when they were to come back into shot. Prop men had to move the furniture and other props out of the way of the large Technicolor camera, ensure they were replaced in the correct location. A team of soundmen and camera operators kept the camera and microphones in constant motion, as the actors kept to a choreographed set of cues.
The extraordinary cyclorama in the background was the largest backing used on a sound stage. It inc
Ellen Kuras is an American cinematographer whose body of work includes narrative and documentary films, music videos and commercials in both the studio and independent worlds. One of few female members of the American Society of Cinematographers, she is a pioneer best known for her work in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, she has collaborated with directors such as Michel Gondry, Spike Lee, Sam Mendes, Jim Jarmusch, Rebecca Miller, Martin Scorsese and more. She is the three-time winner of the Award for Excellence in Dramatic Cinematography at the Sundance Film Festival, for her films Personal Velocity: Three Portraits and Swoon, her first dramatic feature after getting her start in political documentaries. In 2008, she released her directorial debut, The Betrayal, which she co-directed, co-wrote, co-produced and shot, it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 2009. In 2010, she won a Primetime Emmy Award for Exceptional Merit in Non-Fiction Filmmaking for the film.
Kuras grew up in New Jersey. After earning a double degree in anthropology and semiotics at Brown University, she studied photography at RISD and 8mm filmmaking in New York, with the plan to become a documentary filmmaker, she began her film career in 1987, shooting Ellen Bruno’s Samsara: Death and Rebirth in Cambodia, the first US movie filmed in Cambodia after the Vietnam War. In 1990 she won the Eastman Kodak Best Cinematography Focus Award for her work on Samsara; the film garnered accolades from the Student Academy Awards and the Sundance Film Festival where it received a Special Jury Recognition. That same year, she was asked by producer Christine Vachon to shoot her first dramatic film for director Tom Kalin; the film won her the Sundance Award for Excellence in Cinematography in 1992. This collaboration was the start of a prolific working relationship with Killer Films, which includes projects like Postcards From America and I Shot Andy Warhol. From that point she became one of the first women to establish an extensive career in cinematography, a department dominated by men.
Like some of the best cinematographers in the business, she has focused her craft on sculpting light and creating powerful images that enhance story and character, while searching for "alternative ways of seeing the world". Though she started in political documentaries, she branched out to work in every possible genre of film and TV, shooting big budget movies, independent films, concert films, successful TV movies and international commercials and music videos for musicians like Bjørk, The White Stripes and more. In 1999, she was invited to join the American Society of Cinematographers, thus becoming the fifth female members to join more than 400 male peers. Over the course of her career, she has received many accolades including the Women in Film Kodak Vision Award in 1999 and was honored at the 2006 Gotham Award for her entire body of work. In 2003 she was the first film technician to receive the prestigious NY Women In Film and TV Muse Award, which traditionally is given to actresses. In 2009 she was a special Honoree at the Santa Fe Film Festival for her leadership and work in the field of cinematography.
She has served on the juries of several important film festivals around the world. In 1997 she was invited to be on the jury of the Sundance Film Festival. In 2013, she was a member of the jury at the 63rd Berlin International Film Festival. In 2015 she was on the Jury of the Camerimage. Always eager to share her vast knowledge and professional insight, she has guest-lectured at many film schools and festival panels, including SVA, NYU, BU University of Texas at Austin, Walker Art Center, Hamptons International Film Festival, Camerimage and Woodstock Film Festival, among others. A Little Chaos The 50 Year Argument Public Speaking Away We Go The Betrayal Lou Reed's Berlin: Live at St. Ann's Warehouse Shine a Light Be Kind Rewind Neil Young: Heart of Gold Block Party No Direction Home: Bob Dylan The Ballad of Jack and Rose Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Coffee and Cigarettes Analyze That Personal Velocity: Three Portraits Blow Bamboozled Summer of Sam He Got Game 4 Little Girls I Shot Andy Warhol Angela Unzipped A Century of Women Swoon Samsara: Death and Rebirth in Cambodia 2009 – The Betrayal, with Thavisouk Phrasavath 2010 – The Betrayal – Nerakhoon, won 1998 – 4 Little Girls, nominated 1994 - A Century of Women, nominated 2008 – The Betrayal, nominated 2002 – Personal Velocity: Three Portraits, won 1995 – Angela, won 1992 – Swoon, won 2008 – The Betrayal, nominated 2002 – Personal Velocity: Three Portraits, nominated 1992 – Swoon, nominated 2005 – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, nominated Ellen Kuras on IMDb
Compulsion (1959 film)
Compulsion is a 1959 American crime drama film directed by Richard Fleischer. The film is based on the 1956 novel of the same name by Meyer Levin, which in turn was a fictionalized account of the Leopold and Loeb murder trial, it was the first film produced by Richard D. Zanuck. Although the principal roles are played by Dean Stockwell and Bradford Dillman, top billing went to Orson Welles. Close friends Judd Steiner and Artie Strauss kill a boy on his way home from school in order to commit the "perfect crime". Strauss tries to cover it up, but they are caught when police find a key piece of evidence — Steiner's glasses, which he inadvertently left at the scene of the crime. Famed attorney Jonathan Wilk takes their case, saving them from hanging by making an impassioned closing argument against capital punishment. Welles, whose recent thriller Touch of Evil was overlooked in America, was bitter at not being selected to direct Compulsion, his time on the set was tense, he threw frequent tantrums.
At the 1959 Cannes Film Festival, Dillman and Welles won the Best Actor Award. The film was nominated for the BAFTA best picture of the year, Richard Fleischer was nominated for best director by Directors Guild of America, Richard Murphy was nominated for best screenplay by the Writers Guild of America. Leopold and Loeb List of American films of 1959 Compulsion on IMDb Compulsion at Rotten Tomatoes Compulsion at the TCM Movie Database Compulsion at AllMovie
Leopold and Loeb
Nathan Freudenthal Leopold Jr. and Richard Albert Loeb referred to collectively as Leopold and Loeb, were two wealthy students at the University of Chicago who in May 1924 kidnapped and murdered 14-year-old Bobby Franks in Chicago. They committed the murder—characterized at the time as "the crime of the century"—as a demonstration of their perceived intellectual superiority, they thought, rendered them capable of carrying out a "perfect crime", absolved them of responsibility for their actions. After the two men were arrested, Loeb's family retained Clarence Darrow as counsel for their defense. Darrow's 12-hour-long summation at their sentencing hearing is noted for its influential criticism of capital punishment as retributive rather than transformative justice. Both young men were sentenced to life imprisonment plus 99 years. Loeb was murdered by a fellow prisoner in 1936; the Franks murder has been the inspiration for several dramatic works, including Patrick Hamilton's 1929 play Rope and Alfred Hitchcock's 1948 film of the same name.
Movies, such as Compulsion, adapted from Meyer Levin's 1957 novel and Murder by Numbers were based on the crime. Nathan Leopold was born on November 19, 1904 in Chicago, the son of Florence and Nathan Leopold, a wealthy German Jewish immigrant family. A child prodigy who claimed to have spoken his first words at the age of four months, he scored an intelligence quotient of 210, though test results from that era are not directly comparable to scores on modern IQ tests. At the time of the murder he had completed an undergraduate degree at the University of Chicago with Phi Beta Kappa honors, planned to begin studies at Harvard Law School after a trip to Europe, he had studied 15 languages and spoke at least five fluently, had achieved a measure of national recognition as an ornithologist. He and several other ornithologists identified Kirtland's warbler, an endangered songbird that had not been observed in the Chicago area in over half a century. Richard Loeb was born on June 11, 1905 in Chicago to the family of Anna Henrietta and Albert Henry Loeb, a wealthy lawyer and retired vice president of Sears, Roebuck & Company.
His father was Jewish and his mother was a Catholic. Like Leopold, Loeb was exceptionally intelligent. Though he skipped several grades in school, became the University of Michigan's youngest graduate at age 17, he was described as "lazy", "unmotivated", "obsessed with crime", but well-dressed and handsome, with a fascination for crime that had him spending much of his time reading detective novels, pulp periodicals and newspaper crime reports; the two young men grew up with their respective families in the affluent Kenwood neighborhood on Chicago's South Side. The Loebs owned a summer estate, now called Castle Farms, in Charlevoix, Michigan, in addition to their mansion in Kenwood, two blocks from the Leopold home. Though Leopold and Loeb knew each other casually while growing up, meeting in the summer of 1920, their relationship flourished at the University of Chicago after they discovered a mutual interest in crime. Leopold was fascinated by Friedrich Nietzsche's concept of supermen —transcendent individuals, possessing extraordinary and unusual capabilities, whose superior intellects allowed them to rise above the laws and rules that bound the unimportant, average populace.
Leopold believed that he was one of these individuals, as such, by his interpretation of Nietzsche's doctrines, he was not bound by any of society's normal ethics or rules. Before long he had convinced Loeb that he, was an Übermensch. In a letter to Loeb, Leopold wrote, "A superman... is, on account of certain superior qualities inherent in him, exempted from the ordinary laws which govern men. He is not liable for anything he may do."The pair began asserting their perceived immunity from normal restrictions with acts of petty theft and vandalism. Breaking into a fraternity house at the university, they stole penknives, a camera, a typewriter that they used to type their ransom note. Emboldened, they progressed to a series of more serious crimes, including arson, but no one seemed to notice. Disappointed with the absence of media coverage of their crimes, they decided to plan and execute a sensational "perfect crime" that would garner public attention, confirm their self-proclaimed status as "supermen".
Leopold and Loeb settled on the murder of an adolescent as their perfect crime. They spent seven months planning everything from the method of abduction to disposal of the body. To obfuscate the precise nature of their crime and their motive, they decided to make a ransom demand, devised an intricate plan for collecting it, involving a long series of complex delivery instructions to be communicated, one set at a time, by phone, they typed the final set of instructions involving the actual money drop in the form of a ransom note, using the typewriter stolen from the fraternity house. A chisel was selected as the murder weapon, purchased. After a lengthy search for a suitable victim on the grounds of Harvard School for Boys in the Kenwood area, where Loeb had been educated, they decided upon Robert "Bobby" Franks, the 14-year-old son of wealthy Chicago watch manufacturer Jacob Franks. Loeb knew Bobby Franks well; the pair put their crafted plan in motion on the afternoon of May 21, 1924. Using an automobile that Leopold had rented under the name "Morton D. Ballard", they offered Franks a ride as