Thursday, October 16, 2014


One night in 1890s Paris, we see a man attacked on a foggy street, another victim of Anton Diffring, a sculptor (who creates busts of lovely young women) and a doctor; it turns out that he's over 100 years old, despite looking much younger, thanks to a gland transplant he gets every few years to stay young. Desperately in need of the operation now, he can get by for a while on a bubbling green fluid that he concocts, apparently made from bodily fluids obtained from people he kills, but he's at the point where he will start deteriorating for good unless he gets the procedure done. The older doctor who had always helped him is disabled and can no longer operate, so when Diffring crosses paths with ex-lady friend Hazel Court (pictured with Diffring), he tries to talk her friend, surgeon Christopher Lee, into doing the operation himself, eventually holding Court hostage to force him to help. This Hammer horror movie is based on a play, The Man in Half Moon Street, which was first made into a movie in 1945. The plot is predictable and the horror element here is at low boil as the film seems to retain the staginess of the play. Lee sleepwalks through his relatively unimportant part, but luckily Diffring is fine in the title role. The scenes involving the green youth-giving potion are effectively filmed, saturated in green; there are some moderately interesting philosophical discussions about eternal life; and a suitably horrific ending awaits, but it's a bit of a slog getting there. [DVD]

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