Luis García Berlanga

The Executioner

The Executioner

This masterpiece of black humor, beloved in Spain but too little seen elsewhere, threads a scathing critique of Franco-era values through a macabre farce about an undertaker who marries an executioner’s daughter and reluctantly takes over her father’s job so the family can keep their government-allotted apartment. As caustic today as it was in 1963, this early collaboration between Luis García Berlanga and his longtime screenwriter Rafael Azcona is an unerring depiction of what Berlanga called “the invisible traps that society sets up for us.” A furiously funny personal attack on capital punishment, The Executioner evaded the state censors who sought to suppress it, and today is regarded as one of the greatest Spanish films of all time.

Film Info

Special Features

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar
  • New program on director Luis García Berlanga, featuring interviews with his son José Luis Berlanga; film critic Carlos F. Heredero; writers Fernando R. Lafuente and Bernardo Sánchez Salas; and director of the Berlanga Film Museum Rafael Maluenda
  • Spanish television program from 2012 on The Executioner, featuring archival interviews with Berlanga
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by film critic David Cairns
    New cover by Brian Stauffer

Purchase Options

Special Features

  • New, restored 4K digital transfer, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • New interview with filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar
  • New program on director Luis García Berlanga, featuring interviews with his son José Luis Berlanga; film critic Carlos F. Heredero; writers Fernando R. Lafuente and Bernardo Sánchez Salas; and director of the Berlanga Film Museum Rafael Maluenda
  • Spanish television program from 2012 on The Executioner, featuring archival interviews with Berlanga
  • Trailer
  • New English subtitle translation
  • PLUS: An essay by film critic David Cairns
    New cover by Brian Stauffer

The Executioner
Cast
Nino Manfredi
José Luis Rodriguez
Emma Penella
Carmen
José Isbert
Amadeo
José Luis López Vázquez
Antonio Rodriguez
Credits
Director
Luis García Berlanga
Produced by
Nazario Belmar
Story by
Luis García Berlanga
Story by
Rafael Azcona
Screenplay by
Luis García Berlanga
Screenplay by
Rafael Azcona
Screenplay by
Ennio Flaiano
Cinematography by
Tonino Delli Colli
Film editing by
Alfonso Santacana
Art direction by
Luis Argüello
Music by
Miguel Asins Arbó

From The Current

The Executioner: By the Neck
The Executioner: By the Neck

The tropes of light comedy give way to a Kafkaesque nightmare in this incendiary critique of moral rot in Franco-era Spain.

By David Cairns

On Film / Essays — Oct 26, 2016
Pedro Almodóvar on Luis García Berlanga
Pedro Almodóvar on Luis García Berlanga

Almodóvar reflects on the director of The Executioner, his status as one of the titans of Spanish cinema, and his undeserved obscurity abroad.

Inside Criterion / Sneak Peeks — Oct 24, 2016
Destination Madrid: A Visit to a Film Lover’s Bookstore
Destination Madrid: A Visit to a Film Lover’s Bookstore

Criterion’s resident researcher and web producer takes a trip to Madrid bookstore Ocho y Medio, which she calls “a shrine to Spanish contributions to the seventh art.”