The Executioner 1963 Criterion Collection
Sometimes considered the pinnacle of Luis Garcia Berlanga's work, The Executioner is a black comedy, a ‘farce’ and now an intriguing document recording aspects of Franco’s Spain in the early 1960s – a period when Spain was beginning to slowly emerge from isolation and grapple with the modernising world of the rest of Western Europe as well as North America.

Carmen is the daughter of Amadeo, the Court of Madrid’s executioner. She cannot find a boyfriend because they all run away when they find about her father’s profession. Jose Luis is an employee in a funeral parlour who has similar problems with women. One day, their respective professions bring the two men together and Jose Luis end up marrying Carmen. Amadeo’s profession entitles him to a subsidised flat, but as he is about to retire he will lose it. In order to avoid this, he convinces his son-in-law to accept the vacant post of executioner. But the boy has a problem: he wouldn’t kill a fly...

Through a savagely black humorous tone, The Executioner is a vehement condemnation of the death penalty, which caused the Spanish government to try (unsuccessfully) to stop it being screened at the Venice Festival and later to make numerous cuts (most of them are now reinstated).

Director: Luis Garcia Berlanga
Cast: Nino Manfredi, Emma Penella, Jose Isbert
Country: Spain, Italy
Genre: Drama, Comedy


• Made for this release is the 57-minute documentary "The Bad Spaniard" about director Luis Garcia Berlanga, the title referring to what General Franco called him. To talk about the director, Criterion managed to get an interview with the director’s son, Jose Luis Berlanga, along with interviews with film critic Carlos F. Heredero, writers Fernando R. Lafuente and Bernardo Sanchez Salas, and the director of the Berlanga Film Museum, Rafael Maluenda. It works as an excellent introduction to the filmmaker as it offers a decent biography of his early life and his career.

• New interview with filmmaker Pedro Almodуvar. He talks about some standout points to the film, talks about Berlanga as one of Spain's great filmmakers, and offers his thoughts on why the filmmaker probably hasn't found the foreign audience he deserves.

• A 28-minute episode of the Spanish television program La mitad invisible (The Invisible Half). The program contains some solid interviews, including great archival interviews with Berlanga.


BD50 + DVD9 | 1080p AVC, NTSC | 01:32:02 | 44.5 Gb + 7.24 Gb
Language: Espanol
Subtitles: English