The Boston Strangler

Synopsis: 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.
Genre: Crime, Drama, Mystery
Director(s): Richard Fleischer
Production: 20th Century Fox Film Corp.
  Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
116 min



This is John Cameron Swayze in Boston.

A turnout of Bostonians unsurpassed

in numbers and enthusiasm...

...roars its welcome for Al Shepard

followed by Gus Grissom...

...sharing the popular tribute with their

fellow astronauts of Project Mercury.

There's Johnny Glenn.

Joy in this usually reserved city

of Boston is unconfined.

Recognizing Glenn's

morale-boosting feat...

...that proved three men will have their

say in space when the chips are down.

There's a pandemonium of pride as the

Mercury astronaut arrives at City Hall... be welcomed by the mayor

and other privileged dignitaries...

...a moment long to be remembered

by all who witness this stirring event.

Leaving the municipal center,

the tempo is stepped up...

...and the triumphal motorcade

is cheered by additional city multitudes.

At the Hilton, where the luncheon

in honor of Glenn...

...and his astronaut associates

will be held...

...a thousand notables are seated

to supplement the public tribute... Boston toasts another "well done"

for Al Shepard and Johnny Glenn.


Come in. We're all finished.

- How long has she been dead?

- Four or five hours.


There's no semen,

but she's been mauled and bitten.


All these taxes, and they still

can't deliver the mail on time.

They're too busy

blowing everything up with money.

Well, I heard on TV that

they're cleaning up some African jungle.

Imagine, with parts of Boston

the way they look.

I guess Mara's stuck at the hospital

with another case.

No, she's home.

I heard her take the milk in.

Did I ever tell you, when I was nursing,

about Mr. Peavis?

- He was from Worcester, and I...

- You told me.

If... If she was home,

she'd come out and get her mail.

Mr. Harris, did you see Mrs. Edwards

go out this morning?


The only thing he ever hears

is the racetrack reports.

Maybe she's sick.

You know she gets

those terrible migraines.


Mara? Are you there?

She wouldn't leave her door open.

Mr. Harris!

Mr. Harris!

Usually in a homicide

where nothing's stolen...'s a personal enmity,

a grudge killing.

Two cases of personal enmity

against two harmless old ladies... the same neighborhood in one week?

Come on, captain.

Looks like a nut's loose.

Nuts don't ransack apartments.

Nothing was stolen. Was there?

Oh, let him have his story.

Maybe the nut was looking

for something imaginary.

- Uh-huh. Like what?

How do I know?

A fire engine he thinks

someone stole from him...

...when he was 3.

Don't you watch television?

You know what that's called?

Double-square knot. Surgeon's knot.

Not a very commonly used knot, is it?

So the women were strangled

with a double-square knot.

What are you trying to tell us,

that it was a doctor or an Eagle Scout?


What about the sex?

What did he actually do to them?

- What's the difference?

- People like to read about it.

Let them read paperbacks. We

withhold till we check out confessions.

- Do you have any?

- We have a group we rely on... confess to any homicide

committed in greater Boston.

I'll see you later.

Thanks, captain. Gentlemen.

Teletype from the Lynn Police.

They found a 68-year-old retired nurse

by the name of Louise Penny...


Was she raped?

With a wine bottle.

We've got a full-blown maniac

on our hands.

I've got him all set up for you.

Now, this regular, the one in the bar,

his name's Arnie Carr, isn't straight.

I don't have any real straight ones,

but he is special.

How special?

Well, what he does is...

...he talks the whole thing in dirty

words, you know, until he's ready.

That's not so unusual.

You're telling me.

But when he's ready, nothing happens...

...until he gets his hands on my throat

and squeezes.

- That's 20 bucks I gave you!

- Well, all right. Just wait a minute.

Saturday, when that nurse got it,

he was supposed to come around.

He didn't show.

And before, the day Mrs. Hodak

was killed, the same thing.

Now, that's never happened before.

He's never broken an appointment.

He's always exactly on the button.

He's the kind.

I'll try and talk to him.

Is he smart enough to know

he doesn't have to?

Hm. He's married. He's scared to death.

Mr. Carr, I'm Det. DiNatale.

I have some questions for you.


Know a girl named Cloe?

- I don't know any hookers.

- I didn't say she was a hooker.

You broke two dates with her last week.

Yeah. Well, I went out of town.

- Where?

- Hyannis, Providence.

- What do you do, Mr. Carr?

- I sell paint.

Can anyone place you

in Providence and Hyannis...

...prove that you were up there?

Well, I don't know. I'd have to think.


I don't understand why it's so important

if I broke a couple of dates with a girl.

- Is that a crime?

- Adultery is.

I bet your wife would think so.

You leave my wife out of this.

Listen, is the girl

in any kind of trouble?

If you want anything from me,

as long as it's off the record...

...I'll give it to you.

- The girl's not in any trouble.

I want to know why you get turned on

by putting your hands around her throat.

- I don't hurt her.

- Then why do you do it?

I... I don't know.

Do you like to think

about women being frightened?

They know I don't mean it.

You pay them to pretend to be frightened?

They get plenty out of me for it.

Now, you write down for me

where you were...

...and who you talked to

on these two dates.

I want the names, the places

and the time...

...anything that you can remember.


- Who is it?

The plumber.

The owner told me to come over

to look at your sink and your toilet.

- He said you might get new ones.

- They never said anything to me about it.

I don't know about that, lady,

but you're on my list.

I'll phone them.

Maybe you could come back.

I don't know when I'll get back.

But it's okay with me

if you don't want to be bothered.

No. No, it's all right.

So long as you're here, you should look.


Well, you know, you can't be too careful

these days.

Emma Hodak, Mara

Edwards, Louise Penny, Bertha Blum...

...all highly respectable women...

...innocently admitted this deranged man

to their homes.

Allow no strangers to enter your home

under any pretext.

An emergency telephone number, RI2-1818...

...has been established.

This line is open 24 hours a day.

Do not be embarrassed nor afraid

to report any person... matter how insignificant

you may feel your suspicions are.

Thank you.

All right.

I hope you've all got the picture.

Each of you is getting a list

of known sex offenders.

Bring in the people you usually ignore:

peepers, the men's-room queens...

...the exhibitionists, subway jostlers,

the dirty-word specialists.

I know it isn't easy to question habitual

sex offenders and certified nuts...

...but nail them and talk to them.

You don't have to have an ironclad case.

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Edward Anhalt

Edward Anhalt (March 28, 1914 in New York City – September 3, 2000 in Pacific Palisades, California) was a noted screenwriter, producer, and documentary film-maker. After working as a journalist and documentary filmmaker for Pathé and CBS-TV he teamed with his wife Edna Anhalt during World War II to write pulp fiction. (Edna was one of his five wives.) more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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