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  • If you're a justice freak like me, you'll find the film difficult to watch because the subject matter is inherently upsetting, but you'll also be glad that it's being told at all. There have been various theories about the real killer of the Lindbergh baby, the most compelling of which is the theory that Lindbergh himself did it accidentally and was able to engineer the high-level cover-up that ended in Hauptmann's execution. This movie doesn't go there, but I recognized many of the passages in this movie, especially the court scenes, as being taken directly from facts and court transcripts. As usual with HBO movies, the production level and performances are excellent. Stephen Rea (Hauptmann) is very moving as he somewhat naively maintains to the bitter end his faith that our legal system, which is so blatantly railroading him to a death sentence, will eventually come to its senses. Isabella Rossellini captured the devotion and dignity of Anna Hauptmann, whom I met in the 1970s when she was being interviewed for a magazine. Scenes of the powers-that-be finagling their conviction were effectively banal, and nauseating, and the final execution scene conveys the unreal horror Hauptmann himself must have experienced -- his speechlessness when they ask him for a statement as he's being strapped into the electric chair says it all, and it's devastating. To tell the truth, I would have given this film high marks simply for telling this story, but it was so well done that it deserves the high marks anyway. I was slightly disappointed that the ending didn't show more about Anna Hauptmann's incredible 60-year effort to clear her husband's name, an untold story. However, Rea and Rossellini were so good that I kept watching. A very ugly story that, as Hauptmann himself said in one of his final letters, will never go away
  • This is a great film. Stephen Rea and Isabella Rosellini are wonderful as Hauptmann and his wife. There was a tv film made about the Lindbergh case in 1976 that was very simplistic and accepted the case against Hauptmann at face value. This film, like Ludovic Kennedy's excellent book, dare to be different. As they say in the film, the case against Hauptmann smells like a cesspool. All of the evidence against him was either manufactured or misrepresented. There is no doubt this man was sent to his death because of a diabolical frame up. They do an excellent job of showing it point by point. Hauptmann was beaten by the police. There were only two witnesses at the trial who placed him anywhere near Lindbergh's house. One of them was an old man who was legally blind and the other was a man with a criminal record and a reputation as a pathological liar. Hauptmann's lawyer was an alcoholic who told several people he wanted him executed! Lindbergh claimed he could identify Hauptmann's voice and yet he had only heard the kidnapper say two words over two and a half years earlier. Doctor John Condon who gave the ransom to the kidnapper, testified at the trial it was Hauptmann and yet he failed to identify Hauptmann when he first saw him in a police lineup and then said he was NOT the man he saw. There was evidence the police doctored and forged handwriting samples from Hauptmann to make them appear like the writing on the ransom notes. There have been many experts who said Hauptmann DIDNT write the notes. One key piece of evidence at the trial was a board taken from Hauptmanns closet that had Condon's phone number written on it. I saw an interview once with a member of the jury who said this was the evidence that convinced her the most Hauptmann was guilty. Yet, there was a reporter for a tabloid newspaper who admitted HE had written it in the closet. He said he didn't think anyone would take it seriously because the closet had already been searched. Hauptmann was found with some of the ransom money hidden in his garage. He claimed a man named Fisch had given him the money and then gone back to Germany and died. The newspapers called this "The Fish Story". There is overwhelming evidence there really was a man by this name and he was a known mobster who might have been the real culprit behind the kidnapping. This is a film that should be seen because it tells of a time when justice erred and an innocent man paid with his life.
  • This film, upon seeing the first few minutes, made me feel that it would be just like every other movie portraying a different perspective of the Lindbergh Kidnapping Case. But as the minutes dragged on I realized this was a touching story that makes the viewer really question the true outcome of the case over 50 years ago. This film made me look into the facts of the case, and 'Crime of the Century' portrays a popular and very possible outcome of the true case. For anyone who is an avid follower of the case, this movie is a must see. Rea's performance stirs the viewer to care for the accused Hauptmann and intends to set Bruno Hauptmann's side of the story straight.
  • This is a pretty shameless piece of film-making. There is absolutely no hard evidence to support the film's flat claim that Bruno Hauptmann was entirely innocent, and most accounts of the Lindbergh kidnapping case, even those which cast doubt on his conviction, suggest that he was an arrogant, boorish man, not the kindhearted saint presented here. It's as unscrupulously manipulative as Ludovic Kennedy's original book, which has the temerity, in a work of non-fiction, to tell us what people were thinking about - and more than 60 years ago at that. There is, similarly, no back-up offered for the vilification of several of those responsible for Hauptmann's conviction. There are plenty of reasons to view the case with alarm, and to believe that Hauptmann was the victim of a miscarriage of justice (which doesn't necessarily mean he was innocent). To present so biased and distorted an account of the case does no good to the cause of getting at the facts. Stick with 1976's "The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case", which sustains a neutral viewpoint - and is far more disturbing.
  • "Crime of the Century" is a fictional recounting the story of the Lindberg kidnapping. I presumes the innocence of Hauptman (Rea), the alleged kidnapper. It could have left the audience in question of Haputman's innocence thereby aligning it with the 60 year old controversy. It could have even set forth the compelling notion that the Lindberg baby lives today, but it does not. Instead it walks us through the legal process showing the case to be a colossal miscarriage of justice. Hence, "Crime..." is little more than a journeyman flick which attempts to capitalize on the infamy of the crime. An enjoyable watch for those interested in the notorious case.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Be very careful about accepting anything this film tells you. It's based on Ludovic Kennedy's book which is equally untrustworthy. The accusations against the police and state troopers made me really angry.

    One of the most blatant distortions is when we see a cop looking over Hauptmann's shoulder and demanding that he misspell certain words, with Hautmann saying, "That's not the right spelling. I know how to spell." What the audience isn't told is that the police had found Hauptmann's notebooks and other of his writings, unconnected with the case and some dating from years earlier, in which he uses the exact same misspellings of certain words as in the ransom note.

    The ransom money, the fact that Hauptmann had been out of work for ages yet, just days after the kidnapping, suddenly started spending big money on luxury items, the piece of wood from the ladder which matched exactly the gap in Hauptmann's floorboard, the marks of his tools on the ladder, the fact that he'd burgled a house in Germany using a home-made ladder, all the evidence against him is completely damning.

    But of course the public love nothing better than a good conspiracy theory and there are always sensational authors on hand to supply them, however absurd they may be. As one of the most knowledgeable websites on the case puts it:

    "Today, the Lindbergh phenomena is a giant hoax perpetrated by people who are taking advantage of an uninformed and cynical public. Notwithstanding all of the books, TV programs, and legal suits, Hauptmann is as guilty today as he was in 1932 when he kidnapped and killed the son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Lindbergh."

    This is a terrible movie. Don't believe a single word of it.
  • Crime of the Century fails much in the same way the system of justice failed in the prosecution of for the kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh's baby in the 1930s, not enough evidence.

    I know Mark Rydell (On Golden Pond) to be an extremely sensitive filmmaker and stage director, his motivation here, I'm sure was to present an alternative to Hauptmann's guilt, to entertain ideas that the prosecution may have erred. The evidence was only circumstantial, of the course the crime was horrible, but Hauptmann's execution may have been more a result of public outrage than guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

    And he may be right, based on everything I've read, he probably is right. Unfortunately all the probabilities in the world add up to nothing on screen. After only a couple of suppositions the viewer gets so lost in the ultimate goal of the story that he loses interest. I've watched this film 3 times, and lost interest every time.

    What a waste of terrific actors, including Stephen Rea, J.T. Walsh, Michael Moriarty, Vyto Ruginis, Barry Primus, and Allen Garfield.

    Without closure, as long we as know as little as we do about what actually happened, maybe this story is best left to the true-crime section of the local bookstore, or Investigative Reports, Dateline, or 20/20. Told this way, in this medium it's a sad waste of time.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Whether you believe in Bruno Richard Hauptmann's innocence or guilt. As pros are that he says that his wife, Anna was with him the March 1st when the Lindbergh baby was kidnapped and body found in a ditch by a truck driver.

    Or that like one reviewer says that he was out of work and begin to spend a lot on expensive things and even sent his wife to Germany as he was a petty criminal after serving in WWI stealing stuff and being in prison for robbery. He illegally came to the USA, when the third time was a charm as he was caught two other times. As those are the cons

    But really trying to portray the kidnapper and murderer of the baby, as he had a child of his own, a boy with Anna. In a sympathetic light. Really what where the movie producers and director thinking?

    As police corruption and that of beating suspects like Hauptmann and that of feeling pressured by the public to find someone, anybody.

    Even though I admit that I did not feel bad for Hauptmann, as IMHO he did it with the money and had possibly had an accomplice but that person was not arrested.

    But still, you feel bad for his wife turned widow Anna and she was so loyal to him to the end. She died in 1994 proclaiming her husband was railroaded to the electric chair in 1936.

    But Liberal Hollywood wants to make a sympathetic portrayal of a murderer. Really?! What about the victim?
  • Pas trop mauvais. Bonne re-création de l'histoire de l'enlèvement du bébé de Lindberg et de faire payer un innocent pour le crime. Le crime du siècle est en fait l'histoire du mec qu'on voulait coupable. Les vrais coupables ne sont pas inquiétés, évidemment. On est aux États-Unis!
  • Call me a bleeding-heart liberal, but I guess I'm a sucker for movies about people who are wrongly accused. This movie, however, failed to move me, even though I've read books on the subject and the case itself moves me. Rydell and Nicholson do a good job setting up the circumstances that led Hauptmann to become a suspect, and to even arouse suspicions in us, but the dialogue and individual scenes fall completely flat, because they're obvious and heavy-handed. To make matters worse, some of the actors, like David Paymer and Allen Garfield, seem to have been told they were in an over-acting contest. Walsh is good, as is the ever dependable Moriarty, but Rea seems lacking as Hauptmann.