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The Pledge (1981)

7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 6 users  
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The colleagues of an executed highwayman pledge to save his soul.

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Title: The Pledge (1981)

The Pledge (1981) on IMDb 7.3/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
Glenn Cunningham ...
Will
Ronald Forfar ...
The Tinker
Frank McDermott ...
The Highwayman
Peter Rutherford ...
Joe
Roger Watkins ...
The Gypsy
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Storyline

Set in England in 1790 the film begins by showing a pedlar walking through the Northern hills. He comes across a dead highwayman hanging from a gibbet. At a nearby inn the highwayman's former henchmen plot to fulfil their pledge to bury the body in a churchyard and send the highwayman's soul to paradise. In flashback we see the highwayman was a rapist, murderer and thief. In the black of night his comrades in crime cut him down and bury him in the tomb of an archbishop to free his soul. The film ends as the soul enters heaven to a chorus of angels. Written by Enoch Sneed

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Genres:

Short | Drama

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1981 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Highwayman  »

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Unusual short, but memorable
10 October 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I saw this film as a support for a main feature in 1982. It is an unusual film but intriguing and quite enjoyable. Filmed on location in Cumbria in North-West England, it conveys a convincing atmosphere of cold and desolation in the opening scenes where a peddler is making his way along rough paths in the the mountains.

The plot is fairly straightforward: three companions of an executed criminal have sworn to recover his body and bury it in a churchyard so his soul can go to Heaven. In flashback we see the crime for which he was executed - the rape of a farm-girl in a barn. By night the old friends cut down his corpse from a gibbet, remove the bones of a bishop from his tomb (taking care to re-bury them within the churchyard boundary) and replace them with the remains of their friend. In the finale we hear the criminal sigh as his soul is released.

Thus we get a strange mixture of 18th Century sociology, religion, superstition and Romanticism. An unusual blend, but one that makes a lasting impression, with good use of locations.


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