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  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  Subtitles
  • None
  Extras

    The Man Who Haunted Himself

    Universal/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 89 mins . PG . PAL

      Feature
    Contract

    This film is sort of like an early attempt at the Fight Club scenario of splitting personalities. The logistics of it arenít quite so acceptable, but letís be honest, Fight Club required a certain level of suspension of disbelief. The Man Who... requires that suspension in the end as well, but perhaps asks too much all at once, as the final moments are just a little bit beyond even a regular amount of disbelief.

    Or you can go with the undercurrent of the story; itís difficult to break free of conforming. Or, more horribly, there are consequences if you try to break from conformity. Or, perhaps, anyone who wants to truly live needs to break away from conformity. The thing about the film is the undercurrent doesnít get pinned down so understandably, leaving much of the point up to the viewerís personal translation. So, perhaps that too is making a point about individuality; choose your own interpretation rather than have it spoon-fed to you.

    Roger Moore plays Pelham, a regimented English businessman. On a whim driving home one day, he throws caution to the wind and unbuckles before careening wildly down the motorway until he crashes into a tree in unconvincing style. He is immediately operated on and dies on the table Ė but only briefly. When heís brought back there are two heartbeats on the monitor and before long, there appears to be a second Pelham walking around England and doing all the stuff Pelham should be doing.

    "When can you do meÖ ?"

    Before long, this new Pelham is doing all the stuff regular button-down Pelham would like to do but doesnít have the courage to. Pelham, in his increasingly manic pursuit of this second Pelham is slowly driven mad by this other uncatchable fellow and before long Pelham figures a confrontation is the only way to get some answers, but is he too late?

    What starts out as an interesting film does develop along the way and Roger Moore portrays Pelham and his decaying sanity with conviction. The mystery of the film and what is going on is the element that maintains interest,although Iím not sure how much of that interest would remain on a second viewing. Even watching it for the first time I sorta already guessed where it was heading and so a second time or a third might just be boring.

      Video
    Contract

    Shot in 1970, the film looks fairly good for its age with a nice resonant picture and clean lines, but there are numerous artefacts about, particularly (and typically) at the reel markers. Otherwise, the film buffs up alright with nice pallid English flesh tones and a well saturated colour palette. Black are realistic as well, although shadow detail is a little non-existent in this 1.85:1 delivery. 16:9 enhancement is also included for your picture stretching pleasure.

      Audio
    Contract

    Mono-y mono is the Dolby delivery here and so naturally doesnít even make the surrounds get out of bed. The subwoofer too gets to sleep in with very little by way of deeper noise to keep it busy. Dialogue is delivered slightly lower than the music, but not to dangerous levels of imbalance while the dialogue itself is a little stilted in broad English accents.

    Sound effects are a bit stock sounding but come across alright, while the music is very typical of the period. Michael J. Lewisí score suits the filmís intrigue well enough and does the job, but doesnít have me racing to the soundtrack store.

      Extras
    Contract

    Static menus with the chapters listed on it are all the extras we get here on this budget release. And thatís nothing anyway.

      Overall  
    Contract

    While an interesting piece, this isnít a great film. However, itís not a bad film either. Roger Mooreís performance rates among his better ones as the crumbling stalwart of a conformist society and is well worth checking out. Unfortunately the film is a bit dated now and with our modern interpretations of the twist, there are many that will see the inevitable coming long before it arrives.

    Worth renting perhaps as I canít imagine wanting to watch it again, but thatís just me perhaps, being all non-conformist.


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      And I quote...
    "While an interesting piece, this isnít a great film. However, itís not a bad film eitherÖ "
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Teac DVD-990
    • TV:
          AKAI CT-T29S32S 68cm
    • Speakers:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Centre Speaker:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Surrounds:
          Teac PLS-60 Home Theatre System
    • Subwoofer:
          Akai
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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