The young man looks up as Pierrepoint enters the condemned cell. In a beautiful Welsh accent he professes his innocence, pleading with the hangman to believe him.
Seconds before the noose goes around his neck, the man proffers a name. He thinks that Christie might have done it.
And that's the totality and end of Timothy Evans. I don't recall his name even being mentioned. In order to even link this man with one of the most contentious cases in British history, some prior knowledge is needed from the viewer.
Pierrepoint hangs him. Blink and you'll miss it. The narrative doesn't even tell us that the Welsh man really was innocent. It's not telling his story.
As a vehement opponent of capital punishment myself, I was left with the feeling that this film was neutral bordering upon pro hanging. I've since read a comment on a forum from a supporter of capital punishment. He felt that it was anti the same.
In my opinion, a big deal had to be made of Timothy Evans, Derek Bentley and Ruth Ellis for that to be true. I've already covered Timothy; and I didn't see Derek in the movie.
Ruth was presented unsympathetically. She smirked on the gallows. We didn't even learn her name until immediately afterwards, when a brief camera shot of the protesting crowds outside revealed it on their placards.
I still don't think that the movie set out to draw a judgement on the morality (or lack thereof) of capital punishment. It was telling Albert Pierrepoint's life-story as a hangman. He similarly made a point of not having an opinion about the individuals whom he was executing. He was not their judge and jury; and they paid their price once they were dead.
The commentator declaring the movie an anti-capital punishment film supported his assertion by pointing out that we don't know anything about the victims of the noose. He wanted their stories to justify Pierrepoint's actions.
I would counter that by stating that nearly thirty years passed during the course of this narrative. If every felon's tale had been told, then the movie would have gone on forever. The reason for their hanging was not important, because it wasn't important to Pierrepoint.
And if the stories had been told, then Timothy Evans would be amongst them. That's not one for pro-hanging people to want publicized.
Is the movie for or against capital punishment? Neither. It's just the perspective of one man, performing his duty as he saw fit, without that impacting upon the wider issues. Nevertheless, it's a fascinating insight!