The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970)

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Released 8-Mar-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Fantasy None
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1970
Running Time 88:36
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Basil Dearden
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Roger Moore
Hildegarde Neil
Alastair MacKenzie
Hugh Mackenzie
Kevork Malikyan
Thorley Walters
Anton Rodgers
Olga Georges-Picot
Freddie Jones
John Welsh
Edward Chapman
Laurence Hardy
Charles Lloyd Pack
Case ?
RPI $14.95 Music Michael J. Lewis


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Harold Pelham (Roger Moore) is a director of a shipping and maritime company. He has a wife (Hildegard Neil) and two boys, lives in a quiet house, wears the same tie every day, dresses in conservative clothing, and drives a functional but unimpressive car, which he never drives over the speed limit. One day on the way home, his expression changes. He loosens his seat belt and starts speeding, imagining he is in a flashy sports car. In attempting to overtake a slower vehicle, he crashes into a construction site.

    Cut to the hospital, where a semi-conscious Pelham is wheeled into the operating theatre. During the operation, his heart stops. Working frantically, the surgeons revive him. The electrocardiogram machine seems to malfunction, as it shows two heartbeats instead of one.

    Weeks later, Pelham has fully recovered and returns to work. But strange things start to happen. People are adamant that they have seen him the week before, when he was on holiday in Spain. Someone appears to be impersonating him, including taking a photographer mistress (Olga Georges-Picot). Is he going mad? Is someone impersonating him, or does he have a doppelganger?

    A lot of critics seem to think that this is one of Roger Moore's best performances, and I am inclined to agree with them. Rather than his usual acting technique, which revolves around the elevation of his left eyebrow, Moore develops the main character from a rather staid and unemotional chap to a nervous wreck. He is not always convincing, but he does show a greater range than you would have thought possible from his James Bond role.

    This was director Basil Dearden's final film. In one of those bizarre twists that come along every so often, the year after this film was released he was killed in a car crash. His direction is striking in some scenes, particularly with odd camera angles. When Pelham consults a psychiatrist (played with his usual eccentricity by Freddie Jones), Dearden has Pelham sitting on a swivel chair while the psychiatrist walks around him in a continuous circle, turning his chair every so often. Dearden films this from a low angle, following the movement of the psychiatrist, which gives a striking effect.

    This is not a particularly exciting film. In fact, there are long boring stretches. The pacing seems a little off, and the editing is choppy, which upsets the rhythm of the film. The storyline is also padded out with unnecessary exposition, so that it seems longer than its 88 minutes. The film was based on a short story which was also the basis for an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and probably this would have worked better if the running time was shorter.

    Still, if you are a disciple of Roger Moore, or want to see something a little different, this film is worth at least one viewing.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. I am not sure that this is the original aspect ratio. Most British films of this period were shot in 1.66:1, and this film has the look of being cropped. Some of the close-ups look too close, and there are numerous occasions where the tops of actors heads are cut off.

    The film is reasonably sharp and looks good for its age. Shadow detail is not very good though. Most of the cast wear dark suits, and you can rarely see any detail unless the clothes are directly lit. Roger Moore is usually wearing a dark pinstriped suit, but most of the time you cannot see the stripes. It is the same with the striped tie he wears throughout most of the film.

    The colour of the film is quite good, with some bright colours faithfully rendered and with no evidence of colour bleeding. Flesh tones also look accurate. Blacks are very dark, though there is some low level noise present.

    Film to video artefacts are prevalent, unfortunately. Aliasing is present throughout, though it is very mild and limited to car grilles, door frames and patterned drapes. Motion blurring occurs throughout. This means that even when you can see the pinstripes on Moore's suit, if he moves the stripes disappear. I only noticed this later in the film, which suggests that the effect is not extreme. There is also some chroma noise present in many scenes, most noticeably at 42:15. There are some flecks from time to time, but otherwise there are no noticeable film artefacts.

    The film is presented on a single layered disc with no subtitles.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The single audio track is English Dolby Digital 2.0, though it appears to be a mono mix and there is no surround encoding.

    The audio track is functional, with dialogue clear and sound effects distinct. The mono sound is of course restricted in dynamic range, without any great depth of body, but it does the job.

    The music score is by Michael J. Lewis. I found this score to be quite poor for the most part. The theme music is banal. The music sounds like standard background music as used on thousands of TV shows of the era.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    No extras are provided, which is disappointing compared to the Region 1 release.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This film has been released on DVD in Region 1 by Anchor Bay. In comparison to the Region 1, the Region 4 misses out on:

    The Region 1 misses out on nothing in comparison.

    Reviews suggest that the transfer is much the same as the Region 4, so this is a clear winner for Region 1.

Summary

    A fairly boring film for the most part, this does have one of Roger Moore's best performances.

    The video quality is about average.

    The audio quality is reasonable.

    No extras are provided.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Friday, March 12, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V596 for surround channels; Yamaha AX-590 as power amp for mains
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Richter Harlequin; Rear: Pioneer S-R9; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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Comments (Add)
Great movie!!! - Anonymous
Great movie!!! - Anonymous