Tom Kalin

Tom Kalin

Kalin made his feature debut with "Swoon" (1991), a stylized meditation on the notorious 1924 Leopold and Loeb murder case. The facts of the case--two young, wealthy, gay Jewish men pled guilty to the senseless murder of a 14-year old heir, with defense attorney Clarence Darrow trying to avoid the death penalty by invoking the mitigating circumstance of "sexual perversity"--had provided fuel for two previous screen outings, Alfred Hitchcock's "Rope" (1948) and Richard Fleischer's "Compulsion" (1959). Kalin's more ambivalent version of the story foregrounds the relationship between the pair and incorporates elements of fantasy, as well as pointed anachronisms which highlight the continuing relevance of the case. Photographed in elegant black-and-white, the film suggests visual influences ranging from Calvin Klein ads to Bette Davis film noirs.