The Executioner's Song

1982

Biography / Crime / Drama

3
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 74%
IMDb Rating 7.1 10 1803

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
July 09, 2021 at 07:07 AM

Cast

John Dennis Johnston as Jimmy Poker-Game
Walter Olkewicz as Pete Galovan
Charles Cyphers as Noall Wootton
Rance Howard as Lt. Nelson
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.69 GB
1280*960
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
3 hr 8 min
P/S 2 / 10
2.26 GB
1440*1072
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
2 hr 15 min
P/S 2 / 12

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by ccthemovieman-1 8 / 10

Jones, Arquette Play Interesting-But-Sick 'Characters'

For a long "television film," I thought this story moved along well, even with the main characters being so sleazy the story gets a little unappealing at times. Of course, when has Rosanna Arquette ever played anything else in her younger days? Also, when did she not show off her big breasts? However, I usually find her playing interesting characters and she looked young and pretty in this early career (for her) TV-movie.

As for Tommy Lee Jones, who plays the main character "Gary Gilmore," I've always found him interesting, too. In this, Jones plays the famous real-life killer while Arquette is "Nicole Baker," his teenage girlfriend. Jones does a nice job showing how mentally messed up Gilmore was back then.

I surprised at the language in here for a television movie, but then again, I saw the "European version" of this movie. The longer American version, I assume, cut out some that language and perhaps some of Arquette's "skin."

I rarely comment about anybody else's review but I recommend reading the comments by "noelani" here since this woman lived in Gilmore's backyard, so to speak, during this period and has some interesting things to say.

Reviewed by rmax304823 8 / 10

An Unexpected Surprise

Larry Schiller, who is credited with directing this movie, comes off in Mailer's book as a no-nonsense, grasping, egomaniacal self promoter -- a Horace Babbitt for our times. So it comes as a big surprise to find that this movie is professionally done and even tasteful. Schiller was one of the first, well, journalists (I guess), on the scene and sewed up a lot of exclusive contracts with informants. He sold the rights to Mailer. As Schiller's character puts it in this movie, "I'm all suited up and ready to play." And even in enterprises subsequent to Gilmore's story, Schiller is generally described as such a crumb that it's surprising to find this movie has no great directorial displays -- no razzle dazzle pyrotechnics, just clean, functional direction and editing.

Of course, Mailer's book was too long to be condensed into even a miniseries in all its complexity, so certain incidents needed to be deleted or compressed. The snitch planted in Gary's cell, for instance. Or the fact that the murders were preceded not by one break up with Nicole Baker but two. Or the fact that there was no one "going away party" for Gary before his execution, but two, the first one having been premature (and anticlimactic).

Mailer's book by the way is probably his last very good work, filled with a casual irony that is sometimes amusing. After the first killing, Gary takes the teen aged April to a motel room where, Mailer observes, a paper ribbon has been placed across the closed and antiseptic toilet to prove that nobody has lifted the toilet seat since the paper was placed there.

There's no humor in the movie. It's a straightforward, plain-vanilla telling of Gilmore's brief period between his release from prison and his death by firing squad. Tommy Lee Jones is very good as Gary Gilmore. His energy is barely contained. He paces back and forth at moments of tension and gestures in unfamiliar, almost bizarre ways as he tries, for instance, to flag down cars on a highway. He twists his lines in equally idiosyncratic ways, the way Lee Marvin often did, so that one never knows exactly what's coming next.

The only other performer of real importance is Rosanne Arquette as Gilmore's girl friend, Nicole. She looks -- ummm -- very nice. Her acting is okay as well, although she doesn't come across nearly as seedy as Jones does. She sounds as if she'd spent time in college, whereas Jones (who was in Harvard) sounds like he's spent half his life in prison. She is, however, so succulent that one hardly notices her performance.

The movie has no superscore. The music is country and western, and unusually apt. It adds to the shabby atmosphere established. Nobody seems to be really having a good time. And I never suspected Salt Lake City had such a debauched underworld -- people guzzling beer as they drive, smoking, shacking up impulsively, strung out on dope and New Age insanity. Yet they are for the most part respectable and law abiding, even the tattooed bikers and other lowlifes that Gary cultivates as friends.

There are only two murders and we don't see the victims' heads explode. In fact there is hardly any blood. (That's what I meant when I said the movie was relatively tasteful.) What motivated Gilmore? I mean, two senseless killings for a few dollars to pay off a pickup truck. Who knows? Not even Gilmore knows. Ditto for Nicole Baker. She and Gary agreed to commit joint suicide while he was in prison. The first attempt failed and they tried a second time. (One of the attempts is again omitted as anticlimactic, which is okay.) She smuggled the depressants into the prison by putting them in a balloon in her vagina. This may or may not sound realistic, but it is. I was surprised to find couples in the visiting room at California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo engaged in almost everything short of what might be a definition of "sexual relations" broader than that of President Clinton. Neat. The inmates were doing a lot better than I had at their age.

This is an above average miniseries, well worth watching. Not full of pungent insights into human nature or anything -- just a gripping story of a doomed and careless man. Get the unrated version.

Reviewed by noelani54 7 / 10

A decent film about a very tragic, true, story

In the summer of 1976, my husband was a 25 year old full-time student at Brigham Young University, and we were renting a tiny house in Orem, Utah. Orem was generally a quiet town, where one could lie in bed on a summer night, with windows wide open, and hear only the noise of a few crickets chirping and dogs barking, and the occasional buzz of a car driven by someone who was working a night shift.

In the middle of the night of 19 July, I awoke to the sounds of sirens...lots of them. I knew there must have been some very significant event, for there to be multiple sirens blaring, and wondered if it might possibly have been a house fire. I didn't find out what those sirens we all about until two days later, when a neighbor commented that there had been another murder the night before. That was when I learned that the sirens I had heard were because of a murder at a gas station just a few blocks away. Soon after, the name of the victim became known. He was a 25 year old BYU student, who had actually served in the mission field with my husband, in Brazil. The young man also had a wife and a new baby, and had been working the night shift at the gas station to support his family, while attending college full-time. The victim of the second murder was another 25 year old BYU student, who was working nights to support a pregnant wife and baby, while attending the university.

I will refrain from using the names of the two fine young men whose lives were ended in such a brutal and senseless manner, out of respect for the privacy of their families. But their names remain, in my mind, and I have often thought of them, over the years, and wondered how they were doing; the wives, now in their fifties, as I am, and also the children, now around 30 years old, who were deprived of their fathers by Gary Gilmore's senseless rampage.

I will never forget the first images I ever saw of Gary Gilmore, taken when he was very first apprehended. He looked like a wild man, with an unkempt beard and long hair flying everywhere, with a crazed look in his eyes. Soon after, however, he took on a clean cut look, which certainly would have increased the general public's sympathy. That started America's interest in Gary Gilmore. In the weeks that followed, it seemed that many Americans couldn't get enough of the story of the ex-con and his little girlfriend, Nicole. The media turned it into a Romeo and Juliette story, about the young man from a tough background, down on his luck, and his beautiful young sweetheart. I'll never forget the time that television programming was interrupted for a special report, stating that Gilmore and Nichol had both been found unconscious, following a suicide attempt, with pictures of the two, side by side. It made me ill to see the way the story was romanticized, while two young widows grieved the loss of their husbands.

When Gilmore was finally executed, I was relieved. There had been local talk of him possibly being released from prison on a technicality, if the sentence of execution was not carried out soon, and I was terrified that he might set out to murder another young BYU student. After the news from the execution finally died down, I did my best to avoid thinking of anything to do with Gary Gilmore.

When I heard about the made-for-TV movie, The Executioner's Song, I was appalled that someone would give Gilmore MORE attention. It took me nearly 20 years to finally watch the film. I will say that Tommy Lee Jones and Rosanna Arquette were brilliant in their roles, and the supporting roles were also well portrayed. I think it did a fair job of presenting the story with a minimum of glorification of Gilmore, while calling attention to the victims of his crimes, at least to some extent. I only hope that Gilmore's victims' wives and children benefited from any money made from the film.

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