Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959)

Director: Terence Fisher

Starring: Anton Diffring, Hazel Court, Christopher Lee & Arnold Marle

More Info: IMDB

Tagline: His terrifying secret - his hideous obsession made him... [The Man Who Could Cheat Death]

Plot: Dr. Bonner plans to live forever through periodic gland transplants from younger, healthier human victims. But people are starting to get suspicious as his options and time are running dangerously thin.

My Rating: 6/10

Would I watch it again? probably not - once was fine

#7 on Hammer Horror (1957-1976)

I'm a sucker for ideas and when a movie comes along and throws out something that makes me think, I have to give it some credit; even if it's a stinker. TMWCCD is far from a stinker but it does throw out the cause to ponder immortality.

If you had the chance to live forever, would you? If 'no', would it make a difference if you could choose someone to live forever (their choice) with you? What about, say, 4 people? Still 'no'? If you could live for 1,000 years; would you do it then? How would you avoid getting discovered? You couldn't make your situation known (or could you?) and live the life you choose. You'd have to find a way to secure enough money so that you could do those things. How would you acquire it? How would you hide it?

These are just a few of the questions I asked myself for the few days since I watched it. Even when asking others, it's interesting to hear their answers. Me? I think I would do it. Yeah, you'd see everyone you'll ever know die, but then you'd meet so many different people that you would truly have the opportunity to learn and develop as no human ever had or would.

You'd probably have to move every 15 or so years so people wouldn't suspect anything, but when you consider how large this planet is, the possibilities are endless. Plus I'd have time to watch every movie I would ever want to see (or would I?).

It's fun to speculate and fantasize such things. Gee whiz, now getting back to the film...I liked it well enough. Diffring's maniacal Dr. George Bonnet is just off kilter that you can believe he's over a hundred years old. It was fun seeing Lee as a dapper aristocrat and not some monster or villain. It was especially nice to see the lovely Hazel Court in less than usual...

Hazel Court needs to have my eternal babies!

I am sooooo going to take up sculpting. What a racket!

Good score by Richard Rodney Bennett. The sets look Hammer-ish as do the excellent costumes. There's a little grotesqueness, too. It's pretty short so there's not much room to get bored, but I found some time...not so much boredom but my mind would wander, from time to time, thinking about what I would do in Dr. Bonnet's predicament. The small number of locations didn't help, either.

While not being a particularly strong effort on Hammer's part, it's still worth watching...just don't expect an awful lot in return. Dr. Bonnet can not only cheat death, he can also cheat you out of 83 minutes.

Start watching the whole shootin' match right here...

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