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The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959)

Approved | | Drama, Horror, Sci-Fi | June 1959 (USA)
A centenarian artist and scientist in 1890 Paris maintains his youth and health by periodically replacing a gland with that of a living person.

Director:

Terence Fisher

Writers:

Jimmy Sangster (screenplay), Barré Lyndon (play) (as Barre Lyndon)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Anton Diffring ... Dr. Georges Bonnet
Hazel Court ... Janine Du Bois
Christopher Lee ... Dr. Pierre Gerrard
Arnold Marlé Arnold Marlé ... Dr. Ludwig Weiss (as Arnold Marle)
Delphi Lawrence Delphi Lawrence ... Margo Philippe
Francis De Wolff Francis De Wolff ... Inspector Legris
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Storyline

A remake of "The Man in Half Moon Street" (1945) (qv.). Dr. Bonner plans to live forever through periodic gland transplants from younger, healthier human victims. Bonner looks about 40; he's really 104 years old. But people are starting to get suspicious, and he may not make 200. Written by Mike Rogers <MICHAELPEM@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

His terrifying secret - his hideous obsession made him... [The Man Who Could Cheat Death] See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

June 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Den Tod überlistet See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP84,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hammer Films See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Georges Bonnet was born in 1786. See more »

Goofs

The prostitute says to George to watch out for the 'dust bins' in the dark alley. The term is common to England but not France. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Georges Bonner: [Before unveiling the bust] I would like to say at this stage that any credit due for what you are about to see should be laid at the feet of my charming young model. An artist cannot form a thing of beauty unless he has a thing of beauty from which to draw inspiration.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Cut by the BBFC for its original cinema release and the cuts have persisted into all subsequent releases. The cuts were: . a famous shot of Hazel Court's breast as she briefly unfurls a wrap during a modeling session. Apparently shot for a continental version which may have been located in France but it hasn't made it to any DVD releases yet. It is also reported that Hammer Films retains a copy with the nude scene. . cuts to the climatic disintegration of Anton Diffring. See more »

Connections

Version of The Man in Half Moon Street (1945) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Atmospheric Mad Science From Hammer

Hammer's most famous and greatest 'mad science' franchise is, of course, the great Frankenstein series starring the almighty Peter Cushing as the ruthless and yet somehow very likable Baron Victor Frankenstein. While THE MAN WHO COULD CHEAT DEATH (1959) is by no means as great as Hammer's Frankenstein films it is a very atmospheric mad-scientist-flick with an excellent cast. Directed by Hammer's Number one, Terence Fisher, THE MAN WHO COULD CHEAT DEATH is an adaptation of a play that was first filmed as THE MAN IN HALF MOON STREET (1945) which I haven't seen yet.

The mad scientist in this film is played by the always-sinister Anton Diffring, who had played Baron Frankenstein in Hammer's own TALES OF FRANKENSTEIN, a 1958 pilot for a planned Frankenstein TV-show that wasn't made. Actually, Diffring's character in this movie, Dr. George Bonner isn't really that 'mad', regarding his situation: In Paris of 1890, Dr. Bonner is a man who seemingly is in his 40s. However, he is in fact 104 years old and keeps his youth with the aid of a serum. In order to survive, he needs periodic gland transplants from young and healthy victims. Needless to say he is willing to kill for his life...

THE MAN WHO COULD CHEAT DEATH co-stars two Hammer icons, British Horror-beauty Hazel Court and the inimitable Christopher Lee. Both deliver great performances as usual. Personally I like Christopher Lee most when he is evil, but hero-roles such as in this film also fit him well. Anton Diffring is a specialist for sinister and macabre characters, and he is once again excellent here. 19th century Paris is a good setting for a Hammer film; even though most of the movie plays indoors here, director Fisher once again makes great use of the Hammer-typical visuals, creating a thick Gothic atmosphere. Overall, THE MAN WHO COULD CHEAT DEATH offers few surprises and may not be an essential must-see, but it is tense and atmospheric Gothic Horror and should not be missed by my fellow Hammer-fans.


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