• The Man Who Haunted Himself (Kino Lorber) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Kino Lorber
    Released on: May 14th, 2019.
    Director: Basil Dearden
    Cast: Roger Moore, Hildegard Neil, Alastair Mackenzie, Thorley Walters, Freddie Jones
    Year: 1970
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    The Man Who Haunted Himself – Movie Review:

    Based on the novel The Strange Case of Mr. Pelham written by E.L. James, 1970’s The Man Who Haunted Himself, which was written and directed by Basil Dearden (who, sadly, passed away in a car accident a year after the film was made), tells the tale of Harold Pelham (a pre-James Bond Roger Moore). He’s a high-ranking executive who at an engineering company who gets into a nasty car accident when he has a breakdown behind the wheel. He’s rushed to the hospital where his heart stops on the operating table, but mere seconds later the heart monitor starts making nose again and indicates that there are two heartbeats. This is odd, of course, but soon enough Pelham recovers.

    Pelham returns to works shortly thereafter and he’s told by some of his co-workers about recent exploits that he has no recollection of at all, including that fact that he had an affair with a photographer named Julie (Olga Georges-Picot). Adding to the stress this causes, there’s also the fact that the details of a major business deal he’s to have been involved with are starting to fall apart. His increasing stress and anxiety start affecting not only his professional life, but his personal life as well. His marriage to Eve (Hildegard Neil) starts showing cracks and eventually he becomes convinced that he’s being haunted by a doppelganger.

    The Man Who Haunted Himself is a genuinely tense and eerie thriller. Dearden, likely best known for directing 1945’s Dead Of Night, paces the film very effectively. Things are played like a fairly traditional thriller for the first two thirds of the picture, after which the film goes in a more unusual, almost psychedelic direction. The visuals are along for the ride, with some excellent use of color and strange photographic techniques in the last half hour lending the film plenty of neat eye candy that aids in creating its strange atmosphere.

    Moore is also a bit part of what makes the movie work. He even stated himself that this was a project where he actually got to act, rather than just be flippant and look handsome. And act he does, quite well at that. He’s very good here, believable in all aspects of his character and most certainly cast against type in a part that’s about as far away from the bravura of Bond as you can get. Supporting work from the lovely Olga Georges-Picot of Je t'aime, je t'aime and Farewell Friend is also solid and Hildegard Neil does fine as Pelham’s rather put upon wife.

    The film failed to strike a chord at the box office but it’s rightly gained a cult following in the nearly half century since it was first released – and now it gets a second life on Blu-ray. Interestingly enough, the film can also be seen on a marquee in the background of a shot in Shaun Costello’s 1975 adult picture The Passions Of Carol.

    The Man Who Haunted Himself – Blu-ray Review:

    Kino Lorber brings The Man Who Haunted Himself to Blu-ray in North America with an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen and it looks quite nice. There’s very strong fine detail here and often times the depth and the texture evident in the picture is quite impressive. Colors are reproduced perfectly and black levels are decent enough if a step or two away from perfection. The image retains a filmic look, there’s grain here but no print damage outside of the odd small white speck. Skin tones look good and the image is free of noise reduction or edge enhancement.

    The English language DTS-HD 2.0 track on the disc is solid. Dialogue is clever, the levels are balanced and the track is clean from start to finish. Optional subtitles are provided in English.

    Extras kick off with an archival commentary track featuring Roger Moore, writer/producer Bryan Forbes and moderator Jonathan Sothcott. It’s an interesting track that covers the origins of the film, the writing process, how Moore came to star in the picture, what it was like on set, how he got along with some of his co-stars, the direction featured in the film and more.

    The disc also holds an eighteen-minute featurette entitled The Man Who Haunted Himself Viewed By Masters Of Horror wherein Joe Dante and Stuart Gordon share their thoughts on the source material used for the film, the Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV series’ earlier take on it, the look of this later version, what Moore is able to bring to the lead role and the themes and ideas that the picture exploits so well.

    Rounding out the extras on the disc are a trailer for the feature, bonus trailers for Moore vehicles Gold, Street People and The Naked Face, menus and chapter selection.

    The Man Who Haunted Himself – The Final Word:

    The Man Who Haunted Himself is creepy, weird and decidedly well-made. Moore’s excellent in the lead and the last half hour or so of the film really ramps things up quite nicely. Kino Lorber has done a very nice job bringing this cult classic to Blu-ray, with a very nice presentation and some solid extras too. Recommended!

    Click on the images below for full sized The Man Who Haunted Himselfs Blu-ray screen caps!