Could have been good but an indifferent climax spoils it.
*** This review may contain spoilers *** The Man Who Haunted Himself is set in London where electronics company executive Harold Pelham (Roger Moore) lives with his wife Eve (Hildegard Neil) & two young children, while driving home one evening Pelham crashes his car after losing control & is seriously injured. Pelham is rushed to hospital where he is operated, during surgery Pelham clinically dies for a couple of minutes but the doctor's manage to revive him. After recovering from the accident & returning from a holiday in Spain Pelham is eager to get back to work but learns that a rival electronics firm is trying to buy his company, strange things start to happen as well with various people saying that they saw Pelham several times the previous week even though he was in Spain on holiday. Pelham at first shrugs it off but soon realises that someone claiming to be him has been interfering in his affairs including having an affair, leaking sensitive company secrets & meddling in his life. Pelham has no explanation as the truth when revealed is beyond belief...
This British production was directed by Basil Dearden who ironically died in a car himself about a year after The Man Who Haunted Himself was released & could have been a great supernatural mystery thriller but for the whole ambiguity of it which I personally didn't like, I have nothing against films leaving certain things for the audience to work for themselves but I didn't think The Man Who Haunted Himself made much sense. In particular the start when Pelham crashes his car during what looks like him being possessed even though the climax has Pelham's double claim he was set free during the time he was dead on the operating table, it's never really explained what Pelham's double is or why they can't just live happily together. Why does no-one question why the two Pelham's look identical? Why take one Pelham's word over the other when they both look & sound exactly the same? Don't give me the 'because he's wearing a different tie' rubbish either, the whole plot & the plan of the evil Pelham revolves around the fact that the original Pelham decides to wear a pink tie. Right. It's not all bad news though, until the Pelham double is revealed at the end The Man Who Haunted Himself is a fairly gripping mystery thriller as the original Pelham has to solve the mystery of his double but this set-up is wasted as the climax is a disappointment with no great twist & some surreal touches which are not in keeping with the rest of the film. I just would have liked a clever ending that tied everything together better, that's all. At just under an hour & a half The Man Who Haunted Himself has enough intrigue & mystery to keep you interested although it has a fairly sedate pace. Character's are alright if a little flat, everyone except Pelham is very one-dimensional from his housebound wife to his secretary to his snooker playing friends no-one here is fleshed out to any satisfaction or distinction.
Very much a product of it's time The Man Who Haunted Himself has dated badly & screams late 60's early 70's with some shocking fashion choices, hairstyles & interior decorating on display. Although considered a horror film of sorts there's nothing that scary or gory here, there are a few scenes which try to generate tension & suspense but there's no outright explicit horror or scares on show. Based on the television episode Alfred Hitchcock Presents: The Case of Mr. Pelham (1955) this was apparently Roger Moore's favourite role & there's even a line of dialogue in which he talks about James Bond in reference to company espionage several years before he actually landed the part of Bond himself.
Filmed here in England mainly in London this has decent production values but isn't particularly memorable. The acting is alright, Moore is good & while the supporting cast are decent as well they make little real impression.
The Man Who Haunted Himself is a decent time waster, it's an odd supernatural mystery thriller that can't quite decide what it wants to be & ends up being a bit bland & I can't forgive the unsatisfying climax which I didn't feel was any sort of adequate pay-off for the long winded set-up. Watchable in a silly dated way but nothing special.
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