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

R  |   |  Biography, Crime, Drama  |  7 April 2006 (UK)
7.5
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 3,841 users   Metascore: 68/100
Reviews: 43 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:
...
Minister
Ann Bell ...
...
Governor of Strangeways
...
Warder at Strangeways
Cavan Clerkin ...
...
...
Woman in Pub
Neil Fitzmaurice ...
Keiran Flynn ...
Clive Francis ...
...
Frances Shergold ...
...
Dorothea Waddingham (as Elizabeth Hopley)
Peter Jonfield ...
...
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Storyline

Albert Pierrepoint 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 woman to be executed in Britain, public sentiments had changed... and so had Pierrepoint. Written by johnno.r[at]xtra.co.nz

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Respected citizen. Loving husband. Professional killer. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(some scenes)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As per the promo material, and the DVD insert, this film is "based on a true story," however, it might be more appropriate to describe the film as "based on true events," since the story is rather liberal with the actual facts of Pierrepont's, and other character's lives and circumstances. Big picture, true, small picture, not terribly accurate or precise. See more »

Goofs

The film meddles somewhat with the chronology of Pierrepoint's career. The execution of Polish murderer Piotr Maksimowski, accurately shown to have been performed in the record time of 7-and-a-half seconds, took place not in the immediate post-war period before Pierrepoint took the lease on his pub; but years later on 29 March 1950 - nineteen days after the higher-profile (and later infamous) hanging of Timothy Evans. Furthermore, the man who served as assistant executioner on both occasions was named Syd Dernley, not George Cooper. 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

You're a Very Good Pal of Mine
Composed by Ian Shaw
Performed by Ian Shaw
Published by Ian Shaw
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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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