Cincinnati World Cinema joins Xavier Players for series

Related performances, films to tell the story of high-profile criminals Leopold and Loeb | November 19, 2003

Cincinnati World Cinema and the Xavier Players student theater group are joining forces to present a short series of stage and screen works based on the story of Leopold and Loeb, their notorious "crime of the century" and the high-profile Chicago trial that followed.

The collaborative project is based on a concept to combine stage play and film that was developed by Nancy Sunnenberg as part of her master's thesis at the University. The series consists of Xavier Players performances of "Never the Sinner: The Leopold and Loeb Story" and Cincinnati World Cinema screenings of two related films, "Compulsion" and "Swoon." The events are being hosted from Thursday, Dec. 4, to Sunday, Dec. 7.

The 1924 Leopold and Loeb case-proclaimed at the time as the crime and the trial of the century-is significant for many reasons. About 70 years before high-profile criminal trials such as that of O. J. Simpson, the shocking crime committed by two intelligent and wealthy Chicago law students captured the nation's attention. At the time, the physical and emotional relationship between the men was viewed as taboo. Legendary defense attorney Clarence Darrow represented Leopold and Loeb, not to set them free, but to argue against the death penalty. This case also was a landmark for the media's role in sensationalizing crimes and trials.

The Xavier Players' production of the stage play "Never the Sinner: The Leopold and Loeb Story" kicks off the series the first week of December with performances from Thursday through Sunday. The play begins each night at 7:30 p.m., with a 2:00 p.m. matinee on Saturday. "Never the Sinner" was written by John Logan in 1983 and revised in 2000, and the Players' production is directed by Elinore Dial.

Cincinnati World Cinema is presenting a screening of the related film "Compulsion" at the Kelly Auditorium on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The 1959 film, closely based on actual events, is a courtroom drama starring Orson Welles that captures the details of Leopold and Loeb's trial. A discussion of the film follows the screening.

The cinema group also is hosting a screening of the 1992 film "Swoon" on Sunday afternoon at 4:00 p.m. in Kelly Auditorium. In "Swoon," director Kalin focuses on the relationship between Leopold and Loeb and the role that homophobia played in their case. A group discussion also follows this screening.

For information about ticket availability and pricing for "Never the Sinner," call the Xavier Players box office at 513 745-3939.

Tickets for the film screenings are $6 per screening for the general public or $10.00 for a combination ticket for both films. They are available at and at the door. Tickets for Xavier students are $4 for each film at the door. For more information, call 859 781-8151 or visit