on 6 November 2014
I had never seen this on the TV; I just sampled a list of David Hemmings films and picked this one out as it looked interesting - and I wasn't disappointed.
David Hemmings plays a recovering drug addict who has hit the big time by writing a best-seller about his experience and cashing in on it. On holiday in Italy, he catches up with a long-lost well-to-do aunt (Flora Robson) who is heavily involved with the rehabilitation of criminals through reconciling herself with the murder of her husband by a burglar soon after they were married many years earlier. Soon afterwards she is found murdered by a young woman (Gayle Hunnicutt - Hemmings's then real-life wife) on a school tour of a local historical site who then becomes romantically involved with the nephew. Hemmings returns to the UK where he plans to marry his new love and investigate his aunt's murder, but things start to turn sinister when a clandestine organisation known as the Stepping Stones, linked to his aunt, warn him off. The police are uninterested by Hemming's claims that he is being victimised and harassed after threatening phone calls and break-ins at his London flat and he appears to be going rapidly out of his mind. Is his drug-addicted past catching up with him through hallucinations or is he genuinely under threat by his tormentors? Who can he trust?
This is a very deftly plotted and directed story. The film's ending is left open to interpretation (rather like Hemmings most-noted movie, 1966's Blow-Up). Hemmings, whose career had hit an early peak in his mid-twenties (in Blow-Up), is very believable in the role, but it's not quite his best performance. Hereafter he began to age prematurely, losing his young romantic lead status and dropping down the cast list in indifferent and increasingly obscure movies before resorting to directing episodes of Magnum PI and The A-Team and becoming purely a character actor prior to his death at 62.
I agree with other reviewers here: 1970 proved to be a high-water mark for this genre of British movie, reminiscent of the Roger Moore vehicle, The Man Who Haunted Himself (made the same year). I'm half way through reading David Hemmings's posthumously-published autobiography (Blow-Up And Other Exaggerations) and I have to say: he is a very entertaining writer and raconteur if you can get hold of a copy.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Richard Sarafian's 1970 mystery thriller featuring husband & wife team David Hemmings (before he allowed his eyebrows to over run his face) & Gayle Hunnicut seems to draw it's inspiration from the Italian Giallo genre - the only things missing are Edwige Fenech, atrocious dubbing and excessive amounts of blood splatter. As other reviewers have noted, the ending is a damp squib but Hemmings delivers a fine performance in the role of a drug addicted writer, trying to solve a murder. Composer and producer Johnny Harris provides a superb funk driven score, excerpts of which can be found on his Warners release 'Movements'.
Transfer is excellent and audio crisp.
Product Warning (not found on disc but on official site)
"This product is made-on-demand by the manufacturer using DVD-R recordable media. Almost all DVD players can play DVD-Rs (except for some older models made before 2000) - please consult your owner's manual for formats compatible with your player. These DVD-Rs may not play on all computers or DVD player/recorders. To address this, the manufacturer recommends viewing this product on a DVD player that does not have recording capability."
No where on the sleeve or disc does it state which region it is compatible with. On some sites these discs are labelled Region 0 , on others Region 1. The disc will not play on my region free non-recordable DVD player (Toshiba) but will on both my region free blu ray (LG) and desktop PC (Windows 8).
4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 30 July 2008
The DVD is now available and certainly worthy of consideration. Pressented in anamorphic 1:1.85 widescreen the disc also contains the trailer and the cover artwork is rather nice too. I have to declare for fans of the book this adaptation is somewhat different and I think far more sinister, but I'll leave that for anyone like myself who has never seen his atmospheric gem to discover.Directed by film-maker RICHARD C SERAFIAN who made one of my all-time favourite road-movies: Vanishing Point.