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Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman (2005)
"The Last Hangman" (original title)

 -  Biography | Crime | Drama  -  7 April 2006 (UK)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 3,622 users   Metascore: 68/100
Reviews: 42 user | 44 critic | 15 from Metacritic.com

The life and times of Albert Pierrepoint - Britain's most prolific hangman.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Minister
Ann Bell ...
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Governor of Strangeways
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Warder at Strangeways
Cavan Clerkin ...
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Woman in Pub
Neil Fitzmaurice ...
Keiran Flynn ...
Clive Francis ...
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Frances Shergold ...
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Dorothea Waddingham (as Elizabeth Hopley)
Peter Jonfield ...
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Storyline

Albert Pierrepont delivered groceries - and was a hangman. Following in his father's footsteps he quickly became known for his efficiency and compassion, rising to become 'the best in the land'. From early 1933, until the end of his career in 1955, he executed 608 people, including the 'Beasts of Belsen' (war criminals), for which he earned the gratitude of a nation. But by the time he hanged Ruth Ellis, the last women to be executed in Britain, public sentiments had changed....and so had Pierrepont. Written by johnno.r[at]xtra.co.nz

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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1940's England. When the world needed a hero, he gave them what they wanted. But history can be cruel. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing images, nudity and brief sexuality | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

7 April 2006 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$2,028 (USA) (1 June 2007)

Gross:

$21,766 (USA) (22 June 2007)
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1.85 : 1
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Trivia

Despite the title Pierrepoint was not Britain's last hangman. He retired in the mid 1950s, shortly after executing Ruth Ellis - (see Dance with a Stranger (1985)). Britain never had a "last hangman", as the last two executions before suspension of capital punishment were carried out in different cities at the same time. As the last two people executed were both guilty of the murder of John West, it was decided to carry out sentence at the same time in Aug 1964. In Nov 1965, people were still being sentenced to death. See more »

Goofs

Weights of the condemned being expressed in the American way as pounds, rather than the British stones and pounds. Pierrepoint was most meticulous, and would have based all his executions on the UK Home Office table of drops for hanging, which uses British units. See more »

Quotes

Albert Pierrepoint: I did a lot of jobs in Germany. More than were really good for me. Too many really. I get so bloody tired now...
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Soundtracks

Voices of Spring
Written by Johann Strauß
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User Reviews

 
A Dirty Job
7 May 2006 | by (http://www.amateurscribe.webeden.co.uk) – See all my reviews

Albert Pierrepoint was Britain's most prolific executioner, overseeing the hanging of more than 600 condemned men and women including Derek Bentley, Ruth Ellis and Lord Haw Haw. Adrian Shergold's film starring Timothy Spall in the title role is a dark period piece exploring the stark relationship between compassion and work ethic.

Pierrepoint approaches his grisly duties with pride, professionalism and a stoical detachment – a third generation hangman, he is well accustomed to checking his personal life at the prison gate while he gets on with the job at hand.

But duty and morality are constantly battling in the back of his mind - a struggle neatly illustrated when he is seconded to Germany after the War and tasked with dispatching Nazi war criminals. His clinical work here is deliberately and uncomfortably linked to the crimes of the Nazis who gassed their Holocaust victims with the same brutal precision.

Back in England, as liberalism begins to take hold and high-profile executions enrage a population bubbling with discontent, Pierrepoint's reputation in the eyes of the public slides swiftly and irretrievably from British war hero to callous murderer – a bewildering descent perfectly captured by Spall's mesmerising performance. Juliet Stevenson is not bad either as Pierrepoint's loyal wife gradually embittered by years of turning the other cheek at her husband's double life.

The film celebrates dignity and humanity but is laced with a uniquely British attitude evocative of Vera Drake and The Remains of the Day. Like these earlier social dramas, Pierrepoint culminates memorably in a momentary quivering of its previously resolute stiff upper lip.


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