Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Anton Diffring gets a little pop-eyed and who can blame him?
THE MAN WHO COULD CHEAT DEATH (1959). Director: Terence Fisher.

Dr. Georges Bonner (Anton Diffring) a doctor and sculptor, is anxiously awaiting the arrival of an old friend and colleague, Dr. Ludwig Weiss (Arnold Marle). No wonder -- Bonner looks to be in his thirties but is actually over a century old, and only Weiss can give him the operation he needs to keep himself looking young. This is of particular importance now as Bonner has fallen in love with Janine Du Bois (Hazel Court) and hopes to spend his life with her. In the meantime Bonner takes a certain fluid and resorts to murder to get at especially needed glands and hormones. This lively and absorbing remake of The Man in Half Moon Street is a rare case of a do-over being superior to the original, in large part to Diffring's vivid performance, equal parts charm and desperation, and the adroit direction of Terence Fisher. Court and Christopher Lee (as a surgeon and rival for Janine) are also notable, as is Marle as the elderly Weiss. The movie is handled with a great deal of dramatic intensity and Diffring plays it to the hilt.

Verdict: Very effective Hammer horror film. ***.

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