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El Verdugo (1963 - The Executioner)
Artículo puesto en línea el 11 de diciembre de 2006
última modificación el 24 de abril de 2015

por r-c.
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Director: Luis G. Berlanga.

Intérpretes: José Isbert, Nino Manfredi, Emma Penella, José Luis López Vázquez.

José Luis Rodríguez (Nino Manfredi) es un empleado de Pompas Fúnebres que desea casarse con Carmen (Emma Penella), la hija del verdugo Amadeo (José Isbert).

Cuando éste alcance el período de jubilación, José Luis no tendrá otro remedio que suceder a su suegro en sus tareas, hecho que no termina de contentarle del todo.

It is often true that the best comedies are those which hide (or should I say show) terrible pathos and anguish beneath their comic skin. Billy Wilder, for example, has often been praised for his mastery of this art, in films such as The Apartment and The Fortune Cookie. So has Berlanga, who is undisputedly the greatest comedy writer/director in Spanish film history, and one of the best of Europe. And his masterpiece, El Verdugo, is such an awesome tour de force of his talents that it never ceases to amaze, even after repeated viewings. El Verdugo is a comedy, yet it is probably the most moving and powerful anti-death penalty story ever written. It achieves this by showing the act of killing a person as what it is, such an unnatural and repulsive thing that for most of us it would be impossible to perform. And, as an executioner, that is exactly the role that Jose Luis (Nino Manfredi) sees himself thrown into. The situation is seen by Berlanga not only as dramatic, but also absurd, and all of Jose’s antics and ploys to avoid ever having to do his job are also so absurd that they are comical, and very much so. But the viewer also sympathizes with him because we instantly understand the horror of his situation, the dreadful Damocles’ sword that hangs over his head. Both the comedy and the drama go hand in hand right until the devastating ending of the film, one of the most memorable and tragic scenes ever committed to celluloid.

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