Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Traveling Executioner (1970)

Director: Jack Smight

Writer: Garrie Bateson

Composer: Jerry Goldsmith

Starring: Stacy Keach, Marianna Hill, Bud Cort, Graham Jarvis, James Slyan, M. Emmet Walsh, John Bottoms, Ford Rainey, James Greene, Sam Reese, Stefan Gierasch, Logan Ramsey, Charles Tyner, William Mims, Val Avery, Walter Barnes, Charlie Briggs, Paul Gauntt

More info: IMDb

Tagline:  1918. The year this man traveled the South with a portable electric chair.

Plot:  Stacy Keach is an ex-con who in 1918 travels around the bayou with a portable electric chair. At $100 a head, he renders his services with loving care. But then he falls for a female "client".

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again?  Maybe.

What an unusual film this is.  Stacy Keach is fantastic.  He knocks it out of the park.  He's got two tender, passionate monologues, one at the beginning and one at the end.  It's good stuff.  I dig the setting of 1918 Louisiana, although it was filmed in Alabama and it could've just as well have taken place there.  It's a quirky film that gets even more odd when Jonas (Keach) cooks up a scheme to free Gundred (Hill) and he has to come up with a lot of dough to grease a few palms at the prison.  In his desperation he makes a big mistake and his predicament goes south and fast.  The final twenty minutes is some of the best work in the picture and it's worth sitting through everything else (even if you don't dig it as much as I did) just for the final act.

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