Review: ‘The Traveling Executioner’

The Traveling Executioner is a macabre, tastefully seamy comedy-drama about bayou prison life, circa 1918. The original Garrie Bateson screenplay stars Stacy Keach in an outstanding performance as an infectious con-man.

The Traveling Executioner is a macabre, tastefully seamy comedy-drama about bayou prison life, circa 1918. The original Garrie Bateson screenplay stars Stacy Keach in an outstanding performance as an infectious con-man.

Bateson’s first screenplay, written as a U of Southern California student, is dominated by Keach, the professional executioner who makes $100 per client. He’s a promoter from the word go, but an underlying, disarming sincerity about the job makes the character believable and sympathetic. Keach’s talents convey the whole spectrum of his role.

A literal description of the story does injustice to the whole; there are some gritty elements and some broad comedy elements – earthy enough to anchor the story in its proper context.

The Traveling Executioner

Production

M-G-M. Director Jack Smight; Producer Jack Smight; Screenplay Garrie Bateson; Camera Philip Lathrop; Editor Neil Travis; Music Jerry Goldsmith; Art Director George W. Davis, Edward Carfagno

Crew

(Color) Widescreen. Available on VHS. Extract of a review from 1970. Running time: 94 MIN.

With

Stacy Keach Marianna Hill Bud Cort Graham Jarvis James J. Sloyan M. Emmet Walsh
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