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The Executioner (1970)

Actor Sam Wanamaker moonlighted on occasion as a director and here casts a very effective George Peppard in the role of an agent working for the Brits determined to find out who is the double agent in his midst. He’s not going to like what he finds by the time this confusing plot plays it’s final scene at the 110 minute mark.

The Executioner poster

It’s carnage and bodies everywhere as this film opens with Peppard standing alone and carrying a bloody, wounded Joan Collins to safety. Time for a flashback to tell us just how we got to this point in the first place and allowing the camera to catch the carnage sequence during the final reel. Thus bringing us full circle.

Peppard has a girlfriend/lover working at the head office in London played by Judy Geeson who supplies him with files on those he suspects of feeding information to the Russians. Arrogant and pompous Charles Gray plays Peppard’s superior and when he learns of Geeson supplying him with files, he has the both of them suspended. This isn’t about to stop Peppard from hunting down Keith Mitchell whom he believes is the agent selling secrets to the Kremlin. Questioning turncoat Oscar Homolka does nothing to sway him from his beliefs. Watch out for that car bomb!

executioner vhs

“You’re inclined to take the law into your own hands, aren’t you.”

A fitting line to describe Peppard’s mindset as he closes in on his prey. The catch is that Peppard once had an affair with Miss Collins. Joan just happens to be the wife of Mitchell, Peppard’s number one suspect. A few twists and turns will leave George to doubt his own convictions when he flies to Athens and the island of Corfu where the production utilized some  exotic locations.

peppard and collins

Who to trust? Like most espionage outings, the main character is going to have to decipher for himself just who is on his side and who is about to sell him out to the enemy. Peppard’s trip to Greece is going to leave him in just such a predicament with bodies being left in is wake.

George is really well suited to the role of the lone wolf with a penchant for violence. While this film is never dull thanks mainly to our leading man,  it’s too bad the overall script isn’t a bit tighter in support of Peppard. He more than upholds his end of the contract.

Columbia studios released this overseas production that teamed eventual TV star Peppard with another eventual star of the small screen, Miss Collins. Both had success early in their careers before turning to series television in the later years. George finding renewed fame on The A-Team and Joan proving women over 50 could be sexy on Dynasty.

Co-star Judy Geeson is still active in movies and for us fans of Hammer Films, will always have a place in our library of titles having starred in the 1972 thriller Fear In the Night opposite Peter Cushing.

executioner lobby2

In the end it’s George Peppard that keeps this one interesting and thankfully it’s available through the made on demand market for those interested in acquiring a copy on DVD.

EXECUTIONER DVD

7 Comments »

  1. The series of Mack Bolan ‘Executioner’ novels began in 1969, and this movie was released in 1970, so I thought there might be a connection, but after reading your review, I’m guessing there isn’t. Still, this sounds like an entertaining film…and I love that poster tag line, ‘Every day he lives, someone else dies’. Pretty cool!

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