The Boston Strangler

Two. Three. Four. It begins with a string of “harmless old ladies” violated and strangled, but as the body count mounts the city panics, and the Boston police stand gasping. Five. Six. Seven. Led by Detective DiNatale (George Kennedy), the investigation keeps coming up empty-handed, unlike the strangler who always seems to have his hands full. When attorney John Bottomly (a fretting Henry Fonda) is brought in to coordinate the search, he upends Boston's underbelly, revealing its creeps, bashers, and Toms, and especially one handbag fetishist, played with loony lisp by William Hickey. Eight. Nine. Ten. Propelling his procedural forward, director Richard Fleischer plies a semi-documentary style that follows clues into cul-de-sacs while all about hysteria swells. Then Albert DeSalvo, an inconspicuous working stiff, surfaces. With puttied nose and restrained manner, Tony Curtis gets him dead-on: lurking in Albert's oblivious body is a monster too big to contain. A monster? Or an altered ego with two hands seeking a windpipe? Eleven. Twelve. Thirteen. . . .

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