6/2/11

Someone Behind the Door (1971)


No memory, no name, no mind: This man will act out someone else's insanity and revenge. 

I was hesitant to review this film because it's rather obscure and because it will bore most of you to tears.  I'll tell you what, if you want to see Charles Bronson crush a giant Mexican's junk with his meaty paw and then kill him by stepping on his throat, watch The Evil that Men Do.  If you want to see Bronson show off his acting chops in a slow Hitchcockian thriller, watch Someone Behind the Door.  This film was made before Bronson became the 1980s tough-guy vigilante and caricature of himself, so he actually does some acting in it.  In fact, the performances are the best part of this film.  

An amnesiac (Bronson) is brought to the hospital by a local fisherman after the confused man is found wandering on the beach.  Dr. Laurence Jeffries (Anthony Perkins), a neurosurgeon, examines him and tells his staff that the man is just drunk and that he is going to give him a ride to the train station.  Instead, he takes the man to his home.

He tells the mysterious stranger that he's going to help the man regain his memory, but he has sinister plans.  Dr. Jeffries's wife (Jill Ireland) is having an affair and he knows about it.

His plan (as preposterous as it is) is to use psychological tricks to convince this simple, violent amnesiac with "schizophrenic tendencies" that Dr. Jeffries's wife is actually the amnesiac's wife and that the man she's having the affair with murdered her.  This way Bronson's character will become enraged and kill the man Dr. Jeffries's wife is sleeping with (because he thinks she's his wife and that this man killed her) and Jeffries won't be implicated in the murder.

It doesn't make any sense because even if this plan worked, the police would still figure out what was going on when they questioned Bronson's character.  But whatever.  Things don't go exactly as planned anyway. 

In St. Ives we (the royal "we".  You know, the editorial...) saw a restrained, less violent version of Charles Bronson which seemed strange considering the ultra-violent Bronson movie stereotype.  In Someone Behind the Door, Bronson gives us a character that is downright vulnerable, confused and emotionally weak.

The performances are what make this movie worth watching.  Anthony Perkins again plays a variation of his Psycho character, but plays it well.  Jill Ireland is convincing (and easy on the eyes) as the wife of the not-so-good doctor and Bronson gives one of his best performances.  The plot is indeed preposterous, but the director, Nicolas Gessner (who also directed The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane) almost makes it seem plausible until the final confrontation when everything just falls apart.  The ending just feels weak.

Violence Rating/Index: 2 out of 5
Booby Rating/Index: 2 out of 5  - Click to see the nude scenes.


29 comments:

Xenototh said...

Even if the movie has a preposterous plot, I will usually just ignore the loopholes if it is done well. Being that guy who has to have things too realistic can really ruin a good time. :P

Banacek said...

@Xenototh Good for you. That's a good lesson for all of us.

Mike said...

This is an olschool film.

Marian said...

i'm not sure i'd like this

Dave said...

Ive not seen this. Ill need to give it a look see.

elexerdelex said...

Wow hot woman with the glasses :D I think today, she would sit in a bath with an Ipad xD
$upporting :)

Banacek said...

@elexerdelex Yep! That's Jill Ireland from yesterday's Girls of Grindhouse post.

HujoThug8825 said...

Looks awesome

AllenTesch said...

I didn't know that Bronson actually tried to be an actor.

srnajera said...

uuu good movie

Astronomy Pirate said...

While it's probably nice to see Bronson in a different sort of roll, I dunno I'd spend my time watching this.

Colin Biano said...

"these bullets..! what do they mean!?"

also, it seems like if someone brainwashed me to think i was married to someone like her and that she cheated on me, i'd end up saying whatever and going to town on her

maybe that's just me though

thenitefalls said...

Nice to see Charles Bronson in another perspective, I'll like to his acting in this role!

Malkavian said...

Sounds like a good movie, and i must say "Was Charles Bronson ever Young??" I mean he looks like in his mid 40s ALWAYS was he born like a middle aged looking man?

Kicking Rocks said...

chick with the glasses in the tub is nice!

Lemons Don't Make Lemonade said...

The movie poster looks good though. :D

ed said...

bronson is looking swole

Rob said...

I think I've seen this before, but I don't know...

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I havent seen this one yet, but with creepy Anthony Perkins in it, I am going to find this immediately.

Moobeat said...

intersting

Bart said...

that moustache creeps me out

D4 said...

I'm usually down for the "boring" movies that are good ish. I like the plot, despite unlikeliness and whatever, it sounds like a decent watch. Yes.

Admin said...

Absolutely digging these older movies!

hoaks2 said...

The word "Hitchcockian" really got me. This looks awesome.

JayPower said...

Awesome review! was interested in this movie, but now i've thaught twice ;D

Speedy Ed said...

the ratings that you gave wern't very good on this one, might give it a miss and stick to some of the previous ones you've recommended ;P

BTN Hip Hop said...

girls hot, shame about the boob rating

WOODLOUSE said...

Haven't heard of this, movie poster is interesting though

HOODPHENOMENOM said...

just found your blog, loved some of your reviews (and the booby rating)

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