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This film was made a couple of years ago but is only now making the rounds in some localities. It stars Timothy Spall as Albert Pierrepoint, the last Chief Hangman of England (not quite The Last Hangman as the movie’s subtitle states) and Juliet Stevenson, one of my favorite actors, as his wife. It was made in collaboration with Masterpiece Theatre and does have a certain constrained, careful, Everything in Good Taste feel to it. Pierrepoint came of a family of executioners and hanged over 600 people over a period of about 25 years, including Lord Haw-Haw, Ruth Ellis, and assorted Nazis (the latter at the behest of Montgomery, no less – he wanted to show the world how much more efficient and humane Britain is at killing people in contrast to Germany). It’s quite a story, and Spall is very good, even with the shadow of Charles Laughton hanging over him.

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Thanks, dirac, now I'm even more keen to see this than I was after reading Stanley Kauffmann's review of it in the 23rd June issue of The New Republic. (This review seems to be available online only to subscribers.)

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Thanks, and please report in this space when you do. It would be an interesting film to discuss.

I will look up Kauffmann's review in the library, having ceased subscribing to TNR some time ago - I'm sure it's good to read.

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I've loved Spall since I first saw him, in the marvellous British sitcom "Outer Edge," which made the rounds on a few public tv stations here about 10 years ago. After that I sought him out, finding him him remarkable in comedy, tragi-comedy, quiet desperation, you name it, especially Mike Leigh films like "Secrets and Lies," which also starred his "Outer Edge" co-actor, Brenda Blethyn.

Dirac, I also admire Juliet Stevenson, a wonderfully understated actress. I'll definitely seek this out. Thanks.

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I saw this at the cinema when it first came out - we're lucky enough to have an arts cinema near us - and its a really good, understated film.

Its really touching when Pierrepoint says that he likes to treat them as people once the deed is done.

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