Four Sided Triangle (1953)
Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.
as Lena / Helen
as Sir Walter
as Dr. Harvey
as Bill as a Child
as Robin as a Child
as Lena as a Child
as Lord Grant
as Lady Grant
Critic Reviews for Four Sided Triangle
Audience Reviews for Four Sided Triangle
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
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