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
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 »
There was a close-up shot of Pierrepoint's hand at one point showing quite clearly a plain gold wedding band. It was customary in Britain at this time for men to wear no ring signifying that they were married. If they chose to wear a ring, it was usually a signet ring. Plain wedding bands came in much later from the 60s onwards. See more »
"Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman" is a very well-directed and produced film that tries to delve into the character / psyche of Britain's most famous (although definitely not the last) hangman of the 20th century, Albert Pierrepoint, one who carries on the family tradition with great aplomb ! The performance by Timothy Spall in the lead role was brilliant. Spall succeeds in portraying a very positive image of Pierrepoint, a man of high personal values who adheres to a high code of conduct. The movie is based on Albert Pierrepoint's biography and conveys him as the "quintessential professional", who has a (rather unpleasant)job to do and is hell-bent on doing it to the very best of his abilities. The performances by Juliet Stevenson (as Pierrepoint's supportive but troubled wife) and Marsden (as his pub mate, "Tish") are also noteworthy.
Throughout his more than two decades long "successful career",Pierrepont goes about his job with a high sense of professional detachment. He is not at all interested in knowing about or passing any judgements on the crimes of his condemned prisoners, whom he is required to despatch from this world. He is just focused on "their height, weight and physical condition" so that he can put an end to their lives in the quickest and most efficient manner; a thorough professional who takes immense pride in being the undoubted No. 1 in his vocation in the entire country.
But then one day something happens which shakes his soul and makes him seriously contemplates the correctness of capital punishment and his key role in its implementation.
It is indeed a very dark and gloomy film with several "trying" moments. A film that forces the viewer to think and stays with him / her long afterwards. What I really liked was the fact that the film does not take any overt position on capital punishment but yet forces one to think. The technical quality is of a high standard with the hanging scenes very authentically depicted.
Recommended watching for the thoughtful viewer (with a strong stomach)!
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