The Man Who Could Cheat Death

Set in Paris at the end of the 19th century this Hammer production tells us the story of Dr. Georges Bonnet a man who is harbouring a dark secret.  Georges cannot die or become ill due to the fact he has discovered a way of prolonging his life with the aid of a celebrated professor.

Bonnet also has a nice sideline going in sculpting where he shows off his creations to the fashionable elite.  At one of his showings, an ex-love attends and his passions are awoken.  She is being courted by another doctor played by Christopher Lee, but that doesn’t stop him trying to win her back.  Georges’ time is running out unless an operation is performed on him but his old friend, the Professor has had a stroke and is unable to help.

The Man Who Could Cheat Death was made around the time of Hammer’s first Frankenstein, Dracula and Mummy movies and often gets forgotten.  The film is very stagey (it is based on a play) but is packed with atmospheric fog (when needed) and really nice performances.  Christopher Lee plays a good guy, Hazel Court is your glamour this time around and Anton Diffring is the immortal doctor.  The acting honours are stolen by Arnold Marle, a German actor who is simply wonderful as the ‘mad’ professor complete with a fabulous wavy hair-do.  He seems to have stepped in from some other film, but he absolutely nails it with his crazy accent and mannerisms.

I’ve never seen it up until now and whilst it’s not Hammer’s best I did enjoy it.  One for the Hammer completists and for fans of bad guys who look like they have eaten too many bananas when they need their potion.

  • Starring Anton Diffring  Hazel Court  Christopher Lee  Arnold Marle
  • Director Terence Fisher
  • Distributor Eureka