It’s Roger Moore’s birthday today. The veteran British actor turns 82, and that’s as good an excuse as any to write about him. In a horror blog? Aside from his extensive charitable work, he’s mainly associated with his seven outings as James Bond and a prolific television career. But that’s still just the tip of the iceberg. Moore has had a decent film career away from 007, and The Man Who Haunted Himself is a highlight of this neglected area. This psychological thriller from 1970 sees him as Harold Pelham, a youngish but rather staid London businessman. Every area of his life is in a boring groove that suits him just fine. However, after a serious car accident, things take a turn for the bizarre. People say they’ve seen him, and talked to him, in places where he hasn’t been. Neither friends nor even close family can tell the difference between Pelham and the imposter. What is going on?
In his ever more frantic hunt for the doppelgänger, Moore displays a depth of feeling that he seldom shows elsewhere—I’m sure he enjoyed the opportunity to play a man at the end of his emotional tether. And the storyline, though reminiscent of things you might have seen on television anthology shows, is intriguing. Too much information would spoil the ending, but the themes of identity, true living, rebellion (against the self!) and a yearning for change are universal and never outdated. How many thrillers do you know of with an existentialist streak? The Man Who Haunted Himself is an underrated gem that has aged well. You’re in for an entertaining, and mildly thought-provoking, evening if you happen to come across it on TV!