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The Executioner (1963)

El verdugo (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama , Comedy | 13 March 1964 (Italy)
An undertaker marries an old executioner's daughter and, although he doesn't like it, must continue the profession of his father-in-law after his retirement.

Director:

Luis García Berlanga (as Luis Gª. Berlanga)

Writers:

Luis García Berlanga (story) (as Luis Gª Berlanga), Rafael Azcona (story) | 3 more credits »
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4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Nino Manfredi ... José Luis Rodríguez, el enterrador
Emma Penella ... Carmen, la hija de Amadeo
José Isbert ... Amadeo, el verdugo (as Jose Isbert)
José Luis López Vázquez ... Antonio Rodríguez, el hermano mayor de José Luis (as Jose Luis Lopez Vazquez)
Ángel Álvarez ... Álvarez, el enterrador (as Angel Alvarez)
Guido Alberti Guido Alberti ... Director de la prisión
Julia Caba Alba ... Mujer visitante de la obra nº 2
María Luisa Ponte ... Estefanía (as Maria Luisa Ponte)
María Isbert ... Ignacia (as Maria Isbert)
Erasmo Pascual ... San Martín
Xan das Bolas ... Guarda de la obra
José Orjas ... Marqués (as Jose Orjas)
José María Prada ... Vigilante con botella de champán (as Jose Maria Prada)
Félix Fernández ... Organista (as Felix Fernandez)
Antonio Ferrandis ... Funcionario de prisiones
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Storyline

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 <pepe@prince.pe.u-tokyo.ac.jp>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Comedy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Spain | Italy

Language:

Spanish

Release Date:

13 March 1964 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

The Executioner See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Naga Films,Zebra Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

José Luis López Vázques improvised the moment when measuring the child's head. See more »

Quotes

Amadeo, el verdugo: [subtitled version] You think that's bad? That's only 125 volts! The Americans are worse, with their electric chairs...
See more »

Connections

References Ben-Hur (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

El verdugo
(twist)
Composed by Adolfo Waitzman
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Masterpiece that cannot be forgotten
16 April 2016 | by aperisicSee all my reviews

It seems that people tend to think that this movie is about death penalty. It is not. It is only a leitmotiv.

The movie is a strong satirical view over the middle class general situation: what people are forced to do in order to cope with general problems they meet in life and how society does not even recognize sacrifice they have to make or even worse criticized similar attempts.

El verdugo, the executioner, is life itself, if not the society itself as well, if it's possible to separate the two. This is a magnificent parable that works on so many levels. Every scene tells a deeper story and how we are usually forced to follow the paths we do not know and we do not want.

All along, while the middle class is struggling, trying to keep the head above the water, they are victimized in moral sense once again. Their actions are criticized from a superficial and idealistic moral perspective that does not exist. Being an executioner must mean that you are an evil person for being able to kill other human. (As if the society did not decide to terminate the culprit this way of another.) As if the executioner has some personal role in that act. And this works for so many actions in our lives. We are judged based on something that is not really there, was never there and cannot be there, as if people deliberately and constantly choose only those childish fairy-tale perspectives which can present you as a wrongdoer while you have done nothing of the sort.

The movie is very true and very deep. Strangely deep and precise.


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