The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970)
Roger Moore has often been accused of being an actor of limited range, although in all fairness, this may be down to typecasting. This cinematic curiosity from 1970 proves otherwise and is considered by some to be his best performance. Made immediately after The Saint TV series, it afforded its star an opportunity to tackle a character who is rather puritanical, potentially impotent and in every way the complete opposite of Simon Templar and James Bond.
The Man Who Haunted Himself begins with executive Harold Pelham driving home from work, when he uncharacteristically starts to drive dangerously. After crashing he is taken to hospital where his heart stops during the operation. Once resuscitated, there are two heart beats briefly showing on the monitor. Returning home, Pelham finds his life has been turned upside down. At his job as a director of a marine technology company he learns that he now supports a merger that he once opposed. Furthermore it would appear that he is having an affair. Friends, colleagues and acquaintances claim they have seen him in places that he has never been. Does Pelham have a doppelganger, or is he actually going insane?
Director Basil Dearden had prior experience in handling tense supernatural tales, having directed segments for the classic Dead of Night. He handles the unfolding story in The Man who Haunted Himself in a competent fashion. The tension slowly builds and there is growing sense of disquiet rather than sudden shocks. The end is somewhat ambiguous and is open to several interpretations. Overall this is an intriguing character study, with solid performances. It is definitely a product of the times and may not necessarily appeal to contemporary viewers with little patience. However for genre fans and Roger Moore aficionados, this is a rewarding ninety minutes.