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The Traveling Executioner (1970)

Stacy Keach is electrifying as Jonas Candide, an ex-Carny who in 1918 travels around the bayou with a portable electric chair. At $100 a head, he renders his services with loving care. But then he falls for a female "client".

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Jonas Candide
...
Gundred Herzallerliebst
...
Jimmy
...
Doc Prittle
...
Piquant (as James J. Sloyan)
...
Warden Brodski
John Bottoms ...
Lawyer
...
Stanley Mae
...
Gravey Combs
Sam Reese ...
Priest (as Sammy Reese)
...
Willy Herzallerliebst
...
La Follette
...
Virgil
William Mims ...
Lynn
...
Jake
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Storyline

Stacy Keach is electrifying as Jonas Candide, an ex-Carny who in 1918 travels around the bayou with a portable electric chair. At $100 a head, he renders his services with loving care. But then he falls for a female "client".

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

1918. The year this man traveled the South with a portable electric chair.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Western

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

23 June 1972 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Der reisende Henker  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Although it was a box-office failure in 1970 and has been little-seen since, this movie was much admired by John Huston, who cast Stacy Keach in two of his own films after seeing it. See more »

Goofs

An important plot point is the existence of a portable electric chair which makes the career of "traveling executioner" possible. Unfortunately, as shown in the movie, it can't work. To perform an execution Keach "starts" a big electric generator in his horse-drawn van. But the generator has no power source! At the time the story takes place the internal combustion engine was new and rudimentary. The only transportable source of mechanical power was the steam engine. There were no diesel powered generators. Of course a steam engine large enough to produce the necessary mechanical power to turn the electric generator would have been almost as large as the van and would have required hours to build up enough steam to do the job. Also, a substantial amount of coal to make the steam would be needed. In any case, no motive power is shown and this explains why there were likely no traveling electrocutionists. Why a remote prison would not simply hang convicted criminals is likewise not explained. See more »

Connections

Edited into The Lost Empire (1984) See more »

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User Reviews

Fields of Ambrosia
8 February 2015 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

One of the great forgotten cinematic gems of yesteryear! From 1970, a young, whipcord fit, badass Stacy Keach stars as Jonas Candide, a traveling executioner who cruises the American South with his beloved portable electric chair, pulling the switch on murderers and thieves in 1918. Keach is shockingly good as he gets caught up in a scheme to save the life of a beautiful German woman slated for execution.

Keach's trademark facial scar is on full display here, not obscured by a mustache as it would be almost forevermore in later films. It adds something to the role, like a tiny crack in an otherwise perfect human statue. The film also features character actor Bud Cort in an early role.

The opening and finale scenes where Keach delivers Jonas' Fields of Ambrosia monologues are some of the best in 1970s cinema, and Jonas Candide is one of the great characters of Seventies film, he's a drunkard, a womanizer, a liar, a glutton, (the massive meal Candide sits down to eat after an execution has to be seen to be believed, massive plates of biscuits, Canadian bacon and Darwin knows what else) yet beneath it all he has a heart, Jonas, like the film, is darkly funny and darkly lovable.

Fantastically directed by Jack Smight, with a fine score by Jerry Goldsmith, and the seemingly only feature film screenplay credit by forgotten rebel screenwriter Garrie Bateson.

If there ever was a Traveling Time Traveler, a jump back into the wayback machine could correct the travesty of not nominating this film for Oscars for Best Actor, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture in 1970!


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