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A Covenant with Death is a 1967 film directed by Lamont Johnson. It stars George Maharis and Laura Devon.[1] The film is based on Stephen Becker's 1964 novel of the same name.

A Covenant with Death
Directed byLamont Johnson
Based onA Covenant with Death (1964 novel) by Stephen Becker
StarringGeorge Maharis
Music byLeonard Rosenman
CinematographyRobert Burks
Edited byWilliam H. Ziegler
Distributed byWarner Bros.
Release date
Running time
97 min.
CountryUnited States



Within a small Southwestern town on the Mexican border in 1923 America, a promiscuous married woman is found dead in her bedroom. Her grieving, jealous and widely disliked husband, Bryan Talbot (Earl Holliman), is convicted of her murder and sentenced to hang on purely circumstantial evidence. The presiding Judge Hochstadter (Arthur O'Connell) departs for a fishing trip, leaving it up to the inexperienced, 29 year old Mexican-American judge (and lothario) Ben Morealis Lewis (George Maharis), to oversee the execution. Problem is, Lewis has his own misgivings about mandatory sentencing and capital punishment in general, and about Talbot's guilt in particular.

In a stunning turn of events, Talbot unintentionally kills his executioner while trying to avoid being hanged for a murder he fiercely denies having committed. While awaiting the arrival of a replacement hangman, another man confesses to killing Talbot's Wife. Judge Lewis must negotiate various relationships (with his mother, and two very different women for whom he harbors strong and conflicting feelings), in addition to provincial attitudes about love and marriage, sexuality, modernity, maturity, cultural integrity, group loyalty and his faith in the triumph of justice.



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