Blu-ray, DVD Release: The Executioner

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Oct. 25, 2016
Price: DVD $22.99, Blu-ray $27.99
Studio: Criterion


This masterpiece of black humor that is beloved in Spain but too little seen elsewhere, the 1963 comedy-drama The Executioner 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.

theexecutioner1As caustic today as it was in 1963, this early collaboration between Luis García Berlanga (Welcome, Mr. Marshall!; Plácido) and his longtime screenwriter Rafael Azcona (El pisito, Belle Époque) 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 escaped the state censors who sought to suppress it, and today is regarded as one of the greatest Spanish films of all time.

Presented in Spanish with English, the Blu-ray and DVD editions of the movie contain the following:

  • 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
  • An essay by film critic David Cairns
Buy or Rent The Executioner
Amazon graphicDVD | Blu-rayMovies Unlimited graphicNetflix graphic

About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.