Monday, 8 September 2014

The Man Who Finally Died.

Although the Network DVD seems to have been well received when it was released in July 2013, I found it disappointing. Even with a talented cast on show, which included Stanley Baker, Peter Cushing, Mai Zetterling, Eric Portman and in smaller rolls Nigel Green and Alfred Burke most of whom, with varying success, attempting to speak with German accents. I felt that The Man Who Finally Died (1962) did not rise above a rather lumbering mystery drama. In fact most of the cast were a little stilted in their portrayal of characters that were first seen in a 1959 Television series. Two 30-minute episodes of which were shown in September of that year. The first called The Call and the other called The Gloves with Quentin Lawrence, who was also responsible for directing the feature film, directing The Call.
The plot thickens!

Lawrence was best known for his TV work on episodes of series like The Avengers, Danger Man and The Baron. Except for a highly rated B-movie made in 1961 called Cash on Demand his remaining body of work in feature films was not well received and The Man Who Finally Died is particular uninspired. This cold war tale does not build up the tension a story like this deserves.
Baker with Georgina Ward.
Stanley Baker plays a London based jazz musician called Joe Newman, a naturalised Briton who has lived in England since the beginning of WW2. This individual deserved a more emotional portrayal from Baker that would have given a more demonstrative feel to the character. Newman always assumed that his German father had been killed on the Russian front twenty years ago but he receives a telephone call from the Bavarian town of Konigsbaded from a man calling himself Kurt Deutsch – the name of his dead father! Traveling to the German town Newman uncovers a mystery that gets ever deeper, and one that certainly confuses not only Joe Newman but also this blogger!  But his search for the truth proves more disturbing than he could ever imagined[1] Not quite I’m afraid!!

[1] Network DVD Notes.

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