Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman


Action / Biography / Crime / Drama / History

Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN

Top cast

Tobias Menzies Photo
Tobias Menzies as Lieutenant Llewelyn
Eddie Marsan Photo
Eddie Marsan as James 'Tish' Corbitt
Timothy Spall Photo
Timothy Spall as Albert Pierrepoint
James Corden Photo
James Corden as Kirky
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
871.64 MB
English 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 35 min
P/S ...
1.75 GB
English 5.1
24 fps
1 hr 35 min
P/S 1 / 1

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by quatermax-17 / 10

Spall is mesmerising as Pierrepoint...

Capital punishment in Great Britain was abolished in 1964. Prior to that date there were many Home Office appointed Hangmen, none more prolific than Albert Pierrepoint, who served from 1932 to 1956, during which time he hanged an estimated 433 men and 17 women.

Following his father Henry and uncle, Thomas, into the family 'trade', Pierrepoint became the number one hangman in Britain and his career brought him into contact with many notorious criminals including "Lord Haw-Haw" ("Germany Calling"),real name William Joyce; John George Haigh, the famous "acid bath murderer"; Derek Bentley, still a controversial case and the subject of the 1991 film LET HIM HAVE IT; Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in Britain, and again the subject of a movie, DANCE WITH A STRANGER (1985); gangster, Antonio "Babe" Mancini; Theodore Schurch, the last person to be executed for treason in Britain. Perhaps the most controversial case in Pierrepoint's career was that of Timothy Evans, whose wife and baby daughter had been found murdered at their home at 10 Rillington Place, also the home of one John Reginald Christie. Evans was executed in 1950. Christie was later charged with the murders of seven women and hanged in 1953. Evans was eventually granted a posthumous pardon in 1966. Evans was played harrowingly by John Hurt in the 1971 movie 10 RILLINGTON PLACE, with Richard Attenborough as a chilling Christie (according to John Hurt on the DVD commentary for 10 RILLINGTON PLACE, Pierrepoint himself actually offered his services, under an assumed name, as technical adviser for the hanging scene in that film as the actual method was covered by the Official Secrets Act and, ever the professional, Pierrepoint wanted it re-creating accurately, and nor would he have wished his work to be misrepresented).

Pierrepoint's body of work (if you'll forgive the expression) was greatly affected by World War II, and he worked all over Europe including Germany, Cyprus, Gibraltar and Austria. It is believed that in 1945 he hanged 190 men and 10 women war criminals at Hameln prison in the British controlled sector of Germany, including Irma Greese, Elizabeth Volkenrath, Juana Boreman and the "Beast of Belsen", Josef Kramer. During the war itself he had assisted his uncle Thomas in the execution of 16 American soldiers, condemned by Court Martial for murder and rape, at a military prison in Somerset. The movie carefully portrays Pierrepoint the man, not Pierrepoint the executioner. When he does his work he leaves Albert Pierrepoint outside. He is totally professional: he doesn't care who they are or what they've done, all that matters to him is that they are human beings who have to die and he will achieve that as quickly and humanely as possible. All that matters to him is height, weight and physical condition. He is also portrayed as compassionate. When organising the order of the hanging of the German war criminals he selects a girl, who has just accused him of doing the Jews work for them, to be hanged first. His army assigned assistant agrees as she's an 'arrogant bitch'. 'No,' says Pierrepoint, 'she's the youngest. She'll be the most frightened.' And after the deed he insists that the remains be treated with due reverence: 'They've paid the price. They're innocent now. D'y'see?' The publicity surrounding the Nazi war criminals disturbs Pierrepoint, as people applaud him in the street and buy him drinks in the newly acquired pub owned by himself and his wife. This isn't right to him. What he does, his job, is private, he does not even discuss it with his wife. All this attention isn't right. Also there is now an ever growing movement opposed to capital punishment. To some he is a national hero, to an increasing number of others he is a murderer. He starts to question his role. Timothy Spall, known as a dry, comedic actor on British TV (AUF WIEDERSEHEN, PET) and usually the slimy, slightly dopey, comic villain in movies like HARRY POTTER and LEMONY SNICKETT, is mesmerising as Pierrepoint. He portrays a quiet, gentle man, and one who regards his profession with honour and pride. He is appointed by the Government; he is the best in the land. His is not to question the law or the decisions of the lawmakers; his is to do his duty to the best of his ability. And he does. Only when his own notoriety, the hanging of his friend and the changing mood of the country toward capital punishment creep into the melting pot, does his resolve start to falter, and only when the various prison authorities start haggling over payments for his services, something he sees as an insult to his position as Chief Executioner, does he consider resigning, which of course he finally does. There are a few historical inaccuracies and inconsistencies (such as the main fact that he was not the last executioner. Capital Punishment continued for another eight years after Pierrepoint's resignation) but this is the norm for this kind of movie, and on the whole the film is as accurate as any film covering over 20 years in 90 minutes. The acting is excellent in all quarters, particularly Juliet Stevenson, though Spall leads by a length. The period is very well captured and is a close cousin to VERA DRAKE in this respect. The main thing about this movie is that it lingers with you and makes you want to think and learn more about its subject. With Pierrepoint's 'clients' having played such a large part in cinema history, it's time we had a movie about the man himself. And this is it. Recommended.

Reviewed by Quinoa19846 / 10

2/3 of a good and powerfully understated effort- until it gets into the personal

Timothy Spall, one of Britains best currently working character actors (he can be seen in films varied between Harry Potter and the Sheltering Sky),is probably one of the only outstanding reasons to see Pierrepoint: The Last Hangman, and probably not until it likely will air on PBS some weekday night. It's not a poorly made film, for the most part (with the exception of one dream scene set in a field with a scarecrow, which is a revolting taste of schlock surrealism, it's got believable production values),but it's mainly in the script that it falters the most. We're given as juicy a subject as one could hope for- capital punishment in Britain in the late 40s and early 50s, with Pierrepoint (Spall) as the best in the not-quite profitable business. After getting some acclaim from superiors and sent to hang 47 Nazi war criminals in a week, he gets even more acclaim from his friends at eh pub and on the street via the press. He doesn't want it, however, as he tries his hardest to keep his personal life out of his cold, detached mode at work, which is in the frame of the best of professional 'men' at work, with everything kept securely inside.

A lot of this does make for subtly compelling drama, particularly with the execution scenes, and the the little moments in-between with Pierrepoint and his assistant, or in how he keeps it out of the life he has with his wife. It's when the writers push ahead with the most deliberate and obvious point of the movie, about making the professional personal (which I understand and could work for the sake of the film),is made into something that switches gears radically from the rest of the film. The whole tie between Pierrepoint and his best singing buddy at the pub feels as if it was put in to drive it further home about how he loses his faith in his abilities to do his horrifically successful job, and seems to lack logic to boot (wasn't there a *trial* after all?). The whole aspect of Ruth Ellis is also put in almost as an after-thought, with the scene following her execution driving home the idea that if this were a documentary instead, it would be twice as compelling given all of the fact and trouble with the English justice system of the period.

But as it is, for a could-be-TV-movie, it does have some very good strengths to it. Along with Spall, the other actors pull in equally subdued and careful work, even from his friend (whom, oddly enough, Pierrepoint doesn't find out his full name until before it's "go" time),and skillfully weaves restraint in with chilling scenes of hangings- and how measurements are made in the most methodical of approaches- into an average result.

Reviewed by dbborroughs8 / 10

Riveting tale of a man who was the best at what he did

Called the Last Hangman in the UK this is the story of Albert Pierrepoint, the most successful hangman in British history. Timothy Spall does an excellent job as Pierrepoint making his slow change from "This is a job" to having troubling thoughts all the more believable. Watch almost any scene and you'll see a master at work, from the first hanging, where he's to be the assistant, but has to take over when the hangman freezes to the moment he's told that he'll be hanging dozens of people a day in Germany after the war to the final hanging when it all finally becomes too much to bear. This a great little film that deserves to be seen. Not pleasant stuff, but still its riveting.

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