The Man Who Could Cheat Death
|The Man Who Could Cheat Death|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Terence Fisher|
|Produced by||Michael Carreras|
|Screenplay by||Jimmy Sangster|
|Based on||The Man in Half Moon Street by Barré Lyndon|
|Music by||Richard Bennett|
|Edited by||John Dunsford|
|Distributed by||Paramount British Pictures (UK)|
Paramount Pictures (US)
The Man Who Could Cheat Death is a 1959 British horror film, directed by Terence Fisher and starring Anton Diffring and Christopher Lee. Jimmy Sangster adapted the screenplay from the play The Man in Half Moon Street by Barré Lyndon, which had been previously filmed in 1945. The Man Who Could Cheat Death was produced by Michael Carreras and Anthony Nelson Keys for Hammer Film Productions. It was released on 30 November 1959.
In Paris during 1890, 104-year-old Georges Bonnet (Diffring) is a sculptor who maintains a youthful appearance by regularly committing murder and using his victims’ parathyroid glands as an elixir to ward off the signs of age. When Bonnet requires a vital surgery to be undertaken he asks his old colleague Prof. Ludwig Weiss (Arnold Marlé) to perform it. He declines and Bonnet then blackmails Pierre Gerard (Lee) into performing the operation by endangering the life of Janine Dubois (Hazel Court), a young lady in whom both Bonnet and Gerard are romantically interested.
- Anton Diffring as Dr. Georges Bonnet
- Hazel Court as Janine Dubois
- Christopher Lee as Dr. Pierre Gerard
- Arnold Marlé as Prof. Ludwig Weiss
- Delphi Lawrence as Margo Phillipe
- Francis de Wolff as Insp. LeGris
- Gerda Larsen as Street Girl
- Ronald Adam as Doctor
- Marie Burke as Woman at Private View
Production and reception
The film was made on a budget of £84,000. The lead role was originally offered to Peter Cushing, who turned it down only a few days before shooting started on 17 November 1958. The European release of the film featured a scene in which Hazel Court appeared topless.
The Hammer Story: The Authorised History of Hammer Films called the film an "odd mish-mash of mad scientist sci-fi flick and gothic flannel" that "suffers from an excess of dialogue and a lack of action."
- Hallenbeck, Bruce G. (2011). British Cult Cinema: Hammer Fantasy and Sci-Fi. Hemlock Books.
- Hearn, Marcus; Barnes, Alan (September 2007). "The Man Who Could Cheat Death". The Hammer Story: The Authorised History of Hammer Films (limited ed.). Titan Books. ISBN 1 84576 185 5.
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