Four Sided Triangle (The Monster and the Woman) (1953)

Four Sided Triangle (The Monster and the Woman)

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Movie Info

Though not readily apparent by its title, The Four-Sided Triangle belongs in the realm of science fiction/fantasy. Barbara Payton stars as Lena, a British girl raised in America who returns to her hometown on a sentimental journey. Here she is reunited with her childhood friend Bill (Stephen Murray), now a scientist. With the help of his pal Robin (John Van Eyssen), Bill has developed a duplicating machine (today it'd be called a cloning device). When Robin and Lena fall in love, the heartbroken … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Romance, Classics, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: Paul Tabori, Terence Fisher
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 27, 2004
Runtime:

Cast


as Lena/Helen

as Robin Grant

as Sir Walter

as Bill Leggatt

as Dr. Harvey

as Young Bill

as Young Robin

as Lord Grant

as Solicitor
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Critic Reviews for Four Sided Triangle (The Monster and the Woman)

All Critics (4) | Top Critics (1)

Full Review… | October 31, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

Essentially an OK little science-fiction opus that is more interesting in terms of what it portends than for what it actually accomplishes.

Full Review… | November 4, 2010
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Full Review… | December 6, 2005
Film Threat

Full Review… | December 8, 2002
Film Threat

Audience Reviews for Four Sided Triangle (The Monster and the Woman)

A Hammer Films Collection, What more can anyone ask for, Oh Barbara Payton is also in this, so it gave me 2 reasons to watch it. This is the first movie about cloning a person. It is adapted from William F. Temple's novel of 1949, which itself was an expansion of his short story 'The Four Sided Triangle' published in 1939! In this version, Dr. Bill Leggat, with the assistance of his childhood friends Robin and Lena, builds a 'reproducer,' a matter duplicator. Bill, however, has always been running second to Robin in Lena's affections, and when she marries Robin, he becomes distraught, and decides to 'reproduce' her. She finally agrees, since he promises her that the reproduced Lena will be wiped clean of any memories, and will start life anew. He then runs off with the cloned Lena, whom he calls Helen. Unfortunately for Bill, she does retain at least some of her original memories and love for Robin.

The critical dramatic theme, of course, is how the new Lena, Helen, deals with the fact of her existence. More of the movie should have been spent on this. The problems emerging from the self-awareness of the clone have been treated not only in Temple's story and novel, but also in John Varley's short story 'The Barbie Murders' (1978), Stanislaw Lem's amazing descriptions in his novel 'Fiasco' (1987), and Natalya Banderchuk's poignant performance as the constantly being recreated Hari in Tarkovsky's deviant but brilliant movie version of 'Solyaris' (1972) -- also written by Stanislaw Lem.

Here the dramatic burden falls on Barbara Payton as Lena/Helen, also to be seen in the split identity themed 'Bride of the Gorilla' (1951). She does a fair job of expressing her mixed feelings of being re-created, finally opting for an aborted suicide. An all consuming fire in Bill's barn / laboratory dooms Bill and Helen, though in the short story the reader is left puzzling whether it is Lena or Helen who survives.

This film is like a too long episode of 'The Outer Limits,' which would have neatly telescoped this 81 minutes into a fast moving 52, the way that the episode 'Specimen: Unknown' (1964) is a condensed version of 'Day of the Triffids' (1963); or 'The Man Who Was Never Born' (1963) shortens a multi-themed two hour movie into a quick one hour; or Harlan Ellison's episode 'Soldier' (1964) gives us 'The Terminator' (1984). Here the laboratory sequences of perfecting organic matter re-creation go on too long; the entire development of the 'reproducer' could have been shortened, although all of the lab scenes tell us this is really a science fiction movie with a strong character focus like the best of 'The Outer Limits. 3 Stars 2-1-13

bbcfloridabound
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

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