These lovely vintage photos from the ’50s, featuring Roger Moore as a model for knitwear, landed on my desktop a couple of days ago. So successful was Roger in his modelling campaign that he was nicknamed ”The Big Knit”. That was a decade before he was re-christened ”The Saint”-cum-one-half of the ”Persuaders!” and over 20 years before the name would be ”Bond”.
images via Retronaut
Good looks and gentlemanly posture aside though, his acting performances left a lot to be desired. I grew up admiring him as Simon Templar in ”The Saint” and he was ”my Bond” during the formative teen years, but when going back and watching them nowadays, gives me the giggles once too often and I can’t seem to stop turning my head left and right in disbelief… So when the restored version of ”The Man who Haunted Himself” (1970), a movie by Basil Dearden, came highly recommended as ”the film that would make me change my mind”, I was only too glad to take it on board.
A psychological thriller about Harold Pelham, a conservative [bowler hat-umbrella-moustache-stiff upper lip] executive amidst negotiations for an important merger. Happily(?) married, very well off, drives a Rover. One day, for no apparent reason, he starts speeding up and throws his car off a bridge. Rushed to hospital, he actually dies but is quickly resuscitated; for a moment the monitor shows two hearts beating but the doctors dismiss it as a technical malfunction. Harold Pelham eventually returns to his life and the mystery unfolds: gradually, strange events happen with increasing frequency that make him believe he is losing his mind; people see him in places he hasn’t been, a woman claims she is his lover, his colleagues are nonplussed by the fact he is now supporting the merger that he previously opposed… and all the while a silver Lamborghini Islero is shadowing him – in grand style. Whether he is loosing his mind or is stalked by a doppelgänger is answered in the end – but this is not the point.
The point is that I always knew the old boy had it in him and this film is indisputable proof. You have not seen Roger Moore act until you’ve watched ”The Man who Haunted Himself”.
Bonus points: ’70s flair & style, iconically framed London locations, thrilling music, in short, a good film that will shed new light to Sir Roger Moore’s actual acting prowess; also, I understand, his personal favourite among his numerous performances!