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Bill and Robin, helped by their childhood friend, Lena, develop a "reproducer" which can exactly duplicate any object. Bill, crushed when Lena marries Robin, convinces her to allow him to duplicate her, so that he may have a copy of her for himself. The experiment, at first deemed a success, seems to have worked only too well as the duplicate, Helen, is such an exact copy that she also loves Robin, not Bill. Bill hopes to rectify the situation with another radical experiment. Written by
Doug Sederberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Possibly the only b-pic to have the courage of it's lunatic convictions."
**CAUTION: HUGE SPOILERS** In a rural English community, two friends called Bill (STEPHEN MURRAY) and Robin (JOHN VAN EYSSEN) invent a 'reproducer', a piece of scientific equipment which can recreate any object. They are aided in their work by Dr Harvey (JAMES HAYTER), the local GP and a close friend of theirs since they were children. During the celebrations of their fantastic discovery, Robin announces that he is to marry Lena (BARBARA PAYTON), a beautiful woman who both friends have fancied since they were children. Devastated, Bill decides to use the reproducer to create a clone of Lena for himself. However, as the clone is an exact replica, she shares the same thoughts and feelings as the real Lena.
FOUR SIDED TRIANGLE is an absurd but nevertheless enjoyable science-fiction melodrama. Along with STOLEN FACE (see my review), it is one of the very few films from this chapter in the history of Hammer and Terence Fisher to indicate the direction that the company would take when they became Britain's best horror studio. Both pictures share the same theme of a well to do man perverting his skills in order to win the affections of the woman he loves. For example, in STOLEN FACE, Dr Philip Ritter used his knowledge of plastic surgery to recreate the face of concert pianist Alice Brent on a deformed petty criminal because he couldn't marry Alice because she was already spoken for. The very same reason why Bill in FOUR SIDED TRIANGLE felt compelled to use his scientific invention to duplicate Lena. Also both Dr Ritter and Bill were so obsessed in their love for women that they were both unable to see that disastrous consequences could result. Both characters from these two early movies are comparable to Baron Frankenstein in Fisher's THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN. Even though Frankentein was more concerned with bringing the dead back to life than with his love life, he also was too oblivious to the certain doom that faced him when his creature became a criminal lunatic and he intended his creature to be perfect very much as Bill and Ritter intended theirs to be. FOUR SIDED TRIANGLE must also be the only b-picture in cinema history to have the courage of it's own lunatic convictions. This is thanks largely to Terence Fisher who opts to emphasize the causes and consequences of the characters' actions and the moral outcome as well. For instance at the end of the film the screen is filled with a biblical quote "You can either have joy or power you shall not have both". This follows the climax where Bill and one of the Lena's perish in a fire. However, one of them survived and the only way to judge between the clone and the real Lena was by a scar on the back of the latter's neck. Robin is overjoyed when its the real Lena, his wife, who has survived. This is the significance of Fisher's biblical quote. Robin had been tempted by power, but once the machine was destroyed in the blaze, his one opportunity for power was lost but he still had his wife and therefore he had joy but not power. This very much sets the standards for Fisher's skill as a director, whereas most of his films from this period such as MASK OF DUST or SPACEWAYS have nothing to commend them at all. In his best films for Hammer, he had that ability to take a ridiculous storyline and give it conviction by placing attention solely on his characters and the consequences and morality of what could happen if such things did occur in the world. The cast sensibly play it straight and all are suited to their roles with James Hayter shining as Dr Harvey who aids the men in their experiments but at the same time warns them of the dangers they face. John Van Eyssen who was later the head of Columbia Pictures would appear as Jonathan Harker in Fisher's classic Dracula (1958).
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