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

Thursday, June 20, 2013

DEADLY DREAM

Lloyd Bridges
DEADLY DREAM (1971 telefilm). Director: Alf Kjellin.

Dr. Jim Hanley (Lloyd Bridges) is working on certain revolutionary DNA experiments that have the powers-that-be at his university nervous. He begins to have recurring dreams in which he is chased by menacing members of a group calling themselves the Tribunal. The spooky thing is that when he wakes up he has the minor injuries that he received running from the group in his nightmares. Then he starts seeing some of these men in his waking hours, also bearing scars from the dreams. A colleague (Carl Betz) tries to help him in one of his nightmares, but he is later killed in real life. Before long, Hanley is totally paranoid, suspecting anyone and everyone of plotting against him, including his own wife (Janet Leigh). He begins to wonder if his "real" life is just a dream, and the world of his nightmare is his true reality. Deadly Dream, an intriguing ABC "Movie of the Week," was probably inspired by the success of the previous year's Brotherhood of the Bell, which it resembles to a certain extent, although it goes off in its own direction and is not as good. The notion of unraveling DNA was ahead of its time, but not much is done with it. The movie is quite suspenseful and very well-acted by Bridges, Leigh and the rest of the cast, but some might groan a bit at the ending. Bridges really gives one of his best performances in this.

Verdict: Bizarre little telefilm with fine performances. ***.

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