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The Man Who Haunted Himself (Blu-ray + DVD)
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Roger Moore gives a career-defining performance as a businessman whose existence is reshaped by malevolent forces in this taut psychological thriller directed by Ealing Films veteran Basil Dearden. Made at a point in his career post-Saint and pre-Persuaders, this is the film that showcased Moore's big-screen charisma and ultimately lead to him taking over the role of James Bond. The complete, full-length version of The Man Who Haunted Himself is featured here in a brand-new HD restoration from original film elements in its as-exhibited theatrical aspect ratio on both Blu-ray and DVD.
Harold Pelham, a partner in a large electronics firm, finds himself in bewildering circumstances after recovering from a near-fatal car accident. What causes him to renounce his high business principles? Why do friends and colleagues repeatedly sight him in places he has never been? And why does Julie, an attractive girl he has seen only once, claim such an intimate relationship with him? Does Pelham really have a doppelganger - or is he losing his mind?
 Maximum picture area version of main feature (DVD only)
 34 minute music suite of Michael J. Lewis's original score
 2005 commentary with Roger Moore and Bryan Forbes
 Original theatrical trailer
 Four image galleries, including storyboards
 Promotional material PDFs
Conservative executive Harold Pelham (a harrowing and atypical performance by Roger Moore) is involved in a car accident and declared momentarily dead. When he's eventually released from the hospital, Pelham discovers that an exact double of him has recently been seen in places that he's never been, taken over his family, undermined his business and even begun an extramarital affair. Is Pelham being stalked by a doppelganger with a taste for the wild life or is he simply a man going insane?
The Man Who Haunted Himself was Roger Moore's last movie before taking over the role of James Bond, as will as the final film by legendary director Basil Dearden (The Mind Benders , Dead of Night). This creepy psychological thriller is now presented in a stunning new transfer from original British vault materials and includes Roger Moore's first-ever audio commentary.
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The story is fairly simple but it builds up quite nicely. Roger Moore - a conservative businessman with a lovely wife and two perfect children, and who works in the City - on his way home one evening engages in a spot of mad driving and ends up in an accident. Following his recovery he continues his set life yet increasingly finds that he is being pushed out of this life by someone else who happens to be himself. It sounds all very confusing, but that's the story in a nutshell.
I agree with the other reviewers here that this is masterpiece of acting. What I really love about this movie is the double-act Roger Moore plays as the ever more successful businessman and at the same time increasingly haunting himself right into the final showdown when he faces himself down.
A thriller about identity, this features the best-and truly excellent it is- performance I’ve seen from Roger Moore, perhaps making it sad that he never did much straight acting. This is a formula that’s been used before and since, though rarely I think, quite as well. An archetypal sixties movie, with a fantastic cast of excellent British stalwarts, great suspense, a marvellous look at how the other (much less than) half lived, and that typically wonderful sixties music soundtrack with an often inappropriately cheerful tune. The cinematography and effects with minimal technology are marvellous, too.
Spoiler alert. From here on, you may feel reading will ruin the movie if you haven’t seen it.
Roger Moore’s staid businessman, Pelham, dies following a car crash, but is resuscitated. In those few seconds of death, his harsher, perhaps even evil, half is released. And then there were two. For the rest of the movie, his other self ruins his life with affairs, dodgy business dealings and all those pleasures Pelham has denied himself. His marriage, already stagnant and at risk, seems ruined. For a while, it’s unclear as to whether the other Pelham himself knows there are two of them, and in this period, with the “original” Pelham trying to find out what’s happening, and his dawning understanding of the presence of a doppelganger, Freddie Jones makes his usual entertaining mark as a psychiatrist. Finally, virtually ruined, good and dull Pelham confronts the other Pelham, who it is now clear knows everything, and a very satisfying if predictable climax ensues.
End of spoiler.
I think this is a wonderful movie of its period, and perhaps well overdue for a remake. Five stars may be only a tiny tad generous, but even if just for showing how good Roger Moore could be, I love it.
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