This blog is a place for Me to review classic British films (in particular horror films) by Hammer, Amicus and the like. But I will occasionally branch out and review international films as these are the international counterpart to the British films, some of which will include works by American International Pictures, Mario Bava et al. I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, 31 July 2011

The Man Who Haunted Himself


After recovering from a car crash, Harold Pelham begins experiencing losses of memory, or so they seem, as people keep telling him about things he did yet he doesn't recall ever doing them. But it soon gets out of hand when he discovers he has a mistress. But is he suffering from amnesia, is he going mad or has he got a doppelgänger?

The Man Who Haunted Himself is a 1970 Associated British Picture Corporation production. It stars Roger Moore, Hildegard Neil and Alastair Mackenzie. It was directed Basil Dearden. It is based on the novel The Strange Case of Mr Pelham by Anthony Armstrong.

Clearly the best way to show someone turn bad is to have them undo their seatbelt and start speeding on a motorway. Oooh you bastard. So yeah, it appears almost as if Mr Pelham has become possessed as he was steadily driving at 50MPH with his seat belt on then just suddenly changed. But then something weird happens, we see a different car with him in speeding alongside him which then merges with the car we originally saw him in. Now from seeing this I instantly figured that I knew the twist ending. My theory is this; Parallel universe, an alternate Mr Pelham, a bad Mr Pelham has somehow crossed over into our universe and merged with Good Mr Pelham. That's my theory anyway. After the cars merge Mr Pelham then loses control of the car and crashes.

He's then rushed to hospital where a stupid surgeon does CPR on his stomach area, y'know cos he needs to get his stomach beating again. Duh!

Ooooh, now that's cool. They manage to revive him but the heart monitor shows TWO heart beats. But one of the surgeons dismisses it by smacking the monitor which then clears the problem up and begins displaying one heartbeat as usual.

Ooooh, Pelham drove off in his car, but then we see what appears to be another Mr Pelham sitting in another car watching. DOPPLEGANGER!

Haha, Pelham (played by Roger Moore, just in case you didn't know) mentioned James Bond when discussing commercial espionage, little did he know he would soon play that super spy in 3 years time. [Evil laugh. Not sure why, but an evil laugh seemed like a good end to that sentence.]

Oh, something is afoot. People have started mentioning stuff to Pelham that he hasn't even done, or has he? He doesn't remember. A guy even came up to him and gave him a fiver saying that's what he owed him as he beat some guy at a game of pool last week. On one hand you're potentially going mad, losing your memory or you've got a doppelgänger on the loose. On the other hand some guy has just given you a fiver for doing nothing. I call that a win.

Oh, shit is going down. As he entered his workplace he went to hand his hat and umbrella in but another hat and umbrella had already been handed in by Pelham (or a Pelham). Now he's certain someone is pretending to be him so he's hot on his tail. He runs from place to place following the trail until it takes him to the pool house, but he's not there. Dead end. Poor Pelham, maybe next time. There's a couple of other close misses, one time he's even on the phone to the other Pelham but he still doesn't manage to catch him face to face.

The other Pelham doesn't waste much time, he's been having his end away with a saucy young photographer, but poor innocent Pelham is there to get mixed up with the other one.

Believing himself to be going mad, Pelham checks himself into a hospital under the supervision of a psychiatrist. Whilst he's in there the other Pelham goes about continuing to live Pelham's life. When he's finished in the hospital the psychiatrist explains that Pelham is a repressed individual and that this split personality persona has been caused by that. So in order to avoid it happening again he must start expressing himself more, wear some brighter coloured clothing, live his life a bit more. And simply stop being so uptight.

Then Pelham manages to catch the other Pelham in his own home, but he's unable to prove who he is to his family as the other one uses his dress sense against him, stating that he'd never wear anything like that. Bloody psychiatrist! Then when he gets him alone the other Pelham explains that he's always been there inside him and the crash allowed him to get out. Whilst on the operating table Pelham was meant to die, but he managed to live this then created the situation of there being two of him. And as the other Pelham puts it; now one of them must die.

Whilst he's explaining to him there's a shot which absolutely has me mind boggled. This is a film from 1970 yet they have a shot where Roger Moore circles another Roger Moore, it's not split screen because he walks in front of him and behind him all in the same shot. That shot is brilliant for 1970, no wait, it's fantastic, I have no idea how the hell they have achieved it.

Pelham then does a runner and speeds off in his car in an attempt to contact the police. But the other Pelham follows in pursuit. Dazed and confused he begins seeing hallucinogenic images, then next thing we know the other Pelham who was behind him is now somehow in front of him heading straight towards him. So he swerves to avoid another crash and instead smashes off the bridge and heads towards the water. But whilst in mid air as the car plummets towards the water Pelham fades away inside the car. Don't ask me, I have no fucking clue. Next thing, the other Pelham stands and watches the car sink, suffers some chest pains as it sinks but then recovers and that's it. END.

I am so confused. Roger Moore, you sir have confused me. Many people sight this as a very under rated film. I wouldn't say so, it's ok but it's nothing special. I agree with the appreciation of Roger Moore's performance, he's good. After finishing The Saint he wanted to do something different he did another film and this one, the other one was some spy film, but this allowed him to play duel roles and allowed him to express his ability as an actor. Many of Moore's fans sight this as one of his finest performances. As for the film, I like the story, the plot is quite interesting but there's just some aspects of it that are so confusing as I've mentioned at various points earlier. But again the one thing I loved which also completely baffled me is that one single shot of the two Roger Moores I have absolutely no idea how they achieved that in 1970. Besides which British horrors and thrillers weren't exactly the biggest of budgeted films so I am so confused by it, but in a good way (I think). Overall, it's ok. It's definitely worth watching but prepare to be left confused. If nothing else you should watch the trailer and you will be sold on this film as I was, simply by the fact that this is a film starring Roger Moore with a moustache, and if that wasn't enough there's two of him. WAHEY!

The Man Who Haunted Himself 3/5

1 comment:

  1. They achieved it with chromakey. Roger Moore in front of a green screen then keyed over the other Roger Moore.