Strange? Indeed I woke up and found the film hadn't finished.
With films like this to his credit, it's surprising the name Montgomery Tully isn't better known. On the evidence of this and several others of his movies (Master Spy and Out of the Fog), Tully deserves to be ranked just marginally higher than the notorious Edward D. Wood. There's one important difference, though. Wood's films were so bad they're hilarious. Tully's are just bad.
Tully specialised in the cheap 'quota quickies' that did so much to damage the reputation of the British film industry, and Strange Awakening serves to illustrate exactly how that damage was done. It's dull, predictable, stagy, wordy, badly scripted and poorly realised in just about every department.
The film begins in France (oops, there goes the budget) where a man (Lex Barker) is saying his farewells to a woman in a preposterous hat (Monica Grey). Driving back from the airfield, Barker gives a lift to a hitchhiker (Richard Molinas) who subsequently attempts to steal his car. A struggle ensues and Barker rolls downhill, bumping his head on a tree and knocking himself out (this needs to be seen to be believed).
When he comes to, Barker's character is suffering from amnesia. He is in a luxurious house, where several women and a doctor (Peter Dyneley) are on hand to fill in the gaps in his missing memory. Barker is, it would appear, missing heir Gordy Friend, a well-known lush whose poet father is a leading figure in a temperance-styled society. Friend senior having recently died, 'Gordy' is required to sign a document and recite a piece of his father's intolerant verse in order to complete the transfer of the Friend estate. Ah, if only it were that simple...
To add further plot detail would be at the risk of 'spoiling' the movie for anyone who hasn't seen it (though it could be argued that Tully did a good enough job of spoiling the film himself, which consists mostly of protracted exposition and tortured plot contrivances). Whatever the merits of Hugh Wheeler's original novel (and I suspect they are few), Strange Awakening does not impress as a movie and would probably have been better left in out-of-print obscurity. Still, it's not likely to be bothering the TV schedules or DVD labels anytime soon, so you're unlikely to find your sleep disturbed by this turkey.
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