The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959)

The Man Who Could Cheat Death





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

After emerging as a potent force in the genre with Horror of Dracula, Hammer Films added their handsome Gothic touch to this lesser-known remake of the 1944 suspenser The Man in Half Moon Street (itself adapted from a play by Barre Lyndon). Anton Diffring stars as a century-old artist who maintains a youthful appearance by regularly replacing certain glands -- in transplants that he receives thanks to the unwilling participation of healthy donors. Despite his outward physical vitality, his advanced years lead to an increasing mental instability, evinced by his mad obsession with an old flame (Hazel Court) whose newfound love for a suave doctor (Christopher Lee) compels Diffring to commit acts of diabolical cruelty that ultimately become his grisly undoing. Directed by Hammer regular Terence Fisher, who applies a high polish to this atmospheric period thriller. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovimore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Classics, Horror
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 3, 2008


Anton Diffring
as Dr. Georges Bonner
Hazel Court
as Janine Dubois
Christopher Lee
as Dr. Pierre Gerard
Arnold Marlé
as Dr. Ludwig Weisz
Delphi Lawrence
as Margo Philippe
Francis De Wolff
as Inspector Legris
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Man Who Could Cheat Death

Critic Reviews for The Man Who Could Cheat Death

All Critics (4)

A horror pic misstep for Terence Fisher.

Full Review… | October 2, 2015
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Diffring is strong in the lead, showing a side to his talents that he would rarely have the chance to use again.

Full Review… | September 22, 2015
Eye for Film

very much in the mold that elsewhere was doing wonders for Hammer Films. You do not need to be a fan of Hammer Films to like this movie, but it certainly helps.

Full Review… | April 6, 2014
Mark Leeper's Reviews

A great movie and a must for British horror fans.

Full Review… | January 2, 2009

Audience Reviews for The Man Who Could Cheat Death

This movie does have good actors, but the story is too familiar and the movie is too slow and boring.

Aj V

Super Reviewer

The truth is revealed early on leaving nothing much for the rest of the film.

Marcus Woolcott

Super Reviewer

There are so many reasons to see The Man Who Could Cheat Death. It's an early Hammer film and one of the best and it features a young Christopher Lee. The story, while not entirely original (it's a mix of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" and "The Picture of Dorian Gray") is quite good, the acting is uniformly strong, and the production values are top-notch. If you're a fan of classic British horror and haven't seen this one, you're really missing out!

This is a period piece set in 1880's Paris. Anton Diffring plays surgeon Georges Bonner. He and a very old friend have found the secret of immortality in a green, bubbly fluid, but if Bonner doesn't take it every six hours, he turns into a greenish monster whose touch burns. They need to install a gland from an unwilling living donor in order to stop this, but Ludwig (Arnold Marie), the only surgeon who can perform the operation, is nearly 90 and has had a stroke that has incapacitated his right hand. Needing a new surgeon, they attempt to procure the services of Dr. Gerrard (Christopher Lee). Gerrard balks at the unethical nature of the procedure, so Bonner kidnaps their mutual love interest, Janine (Hazel Court) to force him. Gerrard pulls a fast one on Bonner, of course, setting up a nice, over-the-top twist ending.

There's one plot element in the beginning of the film that's dropped by the end, but given The Man Who Could Cheat Death's numerous strengths, it's forgivable. Don't look for gore and explicit violence here; this is a very British film, and much of the horror is implied and the director isn't afraid to let his strong cast speak and act. It's not one of the scarier horror films ever made, including many of Hammer's own offerings, but it is an interesting and enjoyable flick. Classic horror film fans should add this one to their lists!

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