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The history starts with the main character (an old executioner in the Spain of early 60's) approaching retirement age. As his profession is not exactly what you could call "popular", he (a very gentle and nice man, caring, and proud of traditions) begins to worry about who might take his place when he retires. He has a daughter, but, unfortunately, she seems doomed to perpetual "spinsterhood": as soon as any prospective groom learns about her dad and her dad's "trade", he runs away from her, scared. A sad life... However, a new character enters: the local undertaker, a handsome and young man who has exactly the same problem... No girl wants him given his profession. So, you have the woman whom almost nobody would marry and the man whom almost nobody would marry. Obviously, they are meant for each other. But here the old executioner has something to say: He does not object to her daughter marrying the young undertaker; he seems a decent man, and all that... But there is a condition: ... Written by
Jose Beltran <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Classic Spanish film about a justice executioner full of satire , criticism and black comedy
Another masterpiece by the notorious filmmaker Luis Garcia Berlanga who shows the lively as well as sad existence of an executioner . Maestro Berlanga realizes another excellent film plenty of irony , habits , Spanish social life , good feeling and political critical . An undertaker (Nino Manfredi) gets married to an old executioner (Jose Isbert)'s daughter (Emma Penella) and, although he doesn't like it, must continue the profession of his father-in-law after his retirement . However , his profession is not exactly what you could call ¨popular¨ . As when the old man retires, his place is vacant , as his son-in-law doesn't like at all becoming an executioner, but that is the only way to keep the house where he is going to live after getting married.
This is an enjoyable story that contains busy comedy , humor , frantic pace , blatant critical against death row , amusing gags , rowdy satire , noisy hustle and is pretty entertaining . It is considered to be one of the best films from Spanish cinema history and has been voted second best Spanish film by professionals and critics in 1996 cinema centenary .The main and support actors stand out under perfect direction of Berlanga , including sour criticism as well as carried out in previous and subsequent works such as ¨Placido or Escopeta Nacional¨ that include bitter , pessimistic descriptions of social classes . In ¨el Verdugo¨ we can find very fun characters, all of them caricatures of the "spanish way of life" and a mirror on the Spanish society by that time . ¨El Verdugo¨ (1963), one of the undisputed masterpieces and fundamental in filmography of Luis Garcia Berlanga where shows the miseries of an amoral society and shot at the height of his creativity, in a period cultural difficult, where the enormous censorship of the political regime, exacerbated the ingenuity and imagination of the scriptwriters . Awesome playing by Nino Manfredi as a naive , ingenuous ,gentle undertaker turned into executioner , an agreeable Emma Penella and of course , the great Jose Isbert , Berlanga's habitual , in the best interpretation of his long career . The movie displays a Spanish secondary star-studded such as : Maria Luisa Ponte , Jose Maria Prada , Angel Alvarez , Xan Das Bolas , Alfredo Landa , Agustin Gonzalez , Chus Lampreave , Jose Saza , Julia Caba Alba , Antonio Ferrandis , Jose Luis Coll , Felix Fernandez , Jose Orjas and the likable Jose Luis Lopez Vazquez who improvised the moment when measured the child's head , among others . Evocative cinematography in white and black by Tonino Delli Colli , Sergio Leone's usual cameraman ; being filmed on location in Island of Mallorca , Madrid exteriors and C.E.A. studios , Ciudad Lineal, Madrid. Atmospheric and adequate musical score by Miguel Asins Arbo .
Direction by Luis Garcia Berlanga is very good , he shows his skill for edition , realizing long shots with crowd who moves easily Berlanga filmed several polemic movies during the 50s , all of them were beset by difficulties with the censors caused by real critical to social stratum such as ¨Bienvenido Mister Marshall¨ (1953) , a very good film which tended not to be very well received by the censor for its acidity and considered to be one of the best Spanish films of the history ; however, his strong portrait of Spanish society , plenty of sharpness , didn't please the pro-Franco authorities . His next joint venture was ¨Los Jueves, Milagro¨ (1957), it was modified by the censors and delayed for several years before its eventual release . Later on , Berlanga made one of his best films ¨Placido¨ (1961) masterfully played by Cassen , this is the film debut for the great producer Alfredo Matas and received an Oscar nomination in 1963 , being well-received at the International Festivals , reviewing the useless charity , it's a sublime film but with censorship realized by this great maestro Luis Garcia Berlanga . He continued filming other interesting pictures as in 1973 he went to Paris to begin filming ¨Grandeur nature¨ with Michael Piccoli , another problematic film , focusing this time on the fetishism of a man who falls in love with a doll . Several years later , after Franco's death, he filmed a trilogy comprising ¨La Escopeta Nacional¨ (1978), ¨Patrimonio Nacional¨ (1981) and ¨Nacional III¨ (1982), where he clarified the evident disorders in the Spanish upper , middle-class upon being confronted with a new political status quo , realizing a sour denounce of the Spanish society . Berlanga ulteriorly shot a peculiar film titled ¨La Vaquilla¨ (1985) plenty of Spanish-star-cast and set in the Spanish Civil War , resulting to be the first time dealing with this convulsive period in comedy style . Following the same themes, he went on filming coral films such as ¨Moros and Cristianos¨ and ¨Todos a Carcel¨ (1993) that won three Goya Awards for Best Film, Best Director and Best Sound ; being his final film : ¨Paris Tombuctu¨. Rating ¨El Verdugo¨ : 8'5 , pretty good . Essential and indispensable watching for Berlanga aficionados . Better than average and well worth seeing . Essential and indispensable seeing .
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