The Man Who Haunted Himself

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

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Plot: What’s it about?

Harold Pelham (Roger Moore) seems to have a normal life, until he has a strange episode and winds up in a terrible car accident. This wasn’t caused by some lapse in concentration however, as Pelham believes he was somehow possessed at the time and in the midst of the confusion, the accident unfolded. His claim seems a little odd, but when he is on the operating table after the accident, the monitors showed two heartbeats. He remains out of commission for some time, but when he returns to his life, his unusual condition is even more advanced. While he has in the hospital, even declared dead for a short time, he assumed his routines came to an end, but those close to him report that little had changed. His friends tell him that they’ve seen him places that he’s never been, causing him to remember his state just before the accident. But this isn’t the only incident, as he has acted on behalf of a corporate merger he once opposed and to top it all off, it seems he is involved in an affair, something Pelham would never even consider. As even his family informs him of being around him at times he doesn’t recall, Pelham becomes quite distressed. Is there an exact duplicate of him overtaking his life, or is it all just within his mind?

The premise here is a superb one and while it takes a cue from an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Man Who Haunted Himself is by no means a knockoff. No, this is a tense thriller that is well crafted in all respects, from visuals to cast to atmosphere. I wouldn’t place this movie in the horror genre, even though it has elements of terror and potential supernatural texture, as it has more in common with suspense thrillers, to be sure. It should keep your wheels turning from the start, through a mysterious, sometimes harrowing adventure, and when the end credits arrive, you’ll feel satisfied with what has happened. As with all thrillers, the need for suspense was immense here and we have it in ample doses, as well as some added tension thanks to the strange premise. I mean, this man’s life is not only falling to pieces around him, but he believes someone else is overtaking his existence. The sense of desperation and paranoia are well presented and quite effective here, so the suspense and atmosphere are more than covered. Add in Roger Moore’s superb and unwavering performance, and you’ve got one terrific motion picture. Anchor Bay’s disc is solid all around and as such, this one makes an easy recommendation.

Before he became the ultimate secret agent, Roger Moore was involved in some excellent motion pictures, including this one. This one isn’t as well known as some of his other efforts, especially his trips as Bond, but he hands in a superb performance. In truth, I hold this as one of his finest outings and that includes his 007 resume. Of course, he will always be most remembered for replacing Sean Connery in that series, but if you look over his previous work, he seems like a natural candidate. His work on the smash television series The Saint established him as a charismatic presence with high end action abilities, so of course, his move into the Bond series was smooth and he was more than up to the challenge. But in The Man Who Haunted Himself is more about traditional thespian skills and without question, Moore is up to that task and is able to play his role to the hilt, one of his best efforts, in fact. Other films with Moore include Spice World, Octopussy, The Cannonball Run, The Sea Wolves, and The Man With the Golden Gun. The cast also includes Hildegarde Neil (The Mirror Crack’d, The Suicide Club), Olga Georges-Picot (A Free Man, Love and Death), and Alastair Mackenzie (David Copperfield).

Video: How does it look?

The Man Who Haunted Himself is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. As the case states, this transfer was made with elements from the original vault material and it shows, as this looks much cleaner than you might expect. The print is in excellent condition, with very little marks to report and even less grain. This means for the first time on home video, the visuals are allowed to shine through and rest assured, The Man Who Haunted Himself has never looked better. The colors are vivid and bold, while contrast is stark and well balanced. As per usual, Anchor Bay not only meets expectations, but exceeds them on all counts.

Audio: How does it sound?

The original mono option is included here and while it isn’t too impressive, it is more than up to the needed tasks. I heard minimal hiss and distortion here, so age wasn’t really an issue with this mix, aside from the limitations of mono itself. The music is as full as mono allows, while sound effects are clean and well placed also. I had no trouble with the dialogue either, as vocals seemed crisp and at a proper volume balance, never hard to hear or understand. This disc also includes a French language option, in case that’ll come in handy.

Supplements: What are the extras?

The main extra here is an audio commentary track with star Roger Moore and writer/producer Bryan Forbes, which is moderated by journalist Jonathan Sothcott. I was thrilled to see Moore involved here, as it is a real treat to hear him discuss his work, especially those films outside the Bond series. Thanks to Sothcott’s questions, the session remains brisk and on topic, with minimal silent spaces or slow stretches. This disc also includes a talent file on Moore, as well as the film’s theatrical trailer.

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