Newest Reviews
Jailbreak Pact
News of the World
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Dead Pigs
Willy's Wonderland
It's in the Air
School's Out Forever
Stump the Guesser
Last Warning, The
Ascent, The
Hurt by Paradise
Saint Maud
Johnny Frenchman
Glitch in the Matrix, A
Meeting the Man: James Baldwin in Paris
Newest Articles
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
  Who? That Is The Question
Year: 1973
Director: Jack Gold
Stars: Elliott Gould, Trevor Howard, Joseph Bova, Edward Grover, John Lehne, James Noble, Lyndon Brook, Michael Lombard, Kay Tornborg, Joy Garrett, John Stewart, Bruce Boa, Fred Vincent, Alexander Alllerson, Ivan Desny
Genre: Thriller, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: An American scientist, Dr Lucas Martino (Joseph Bova), has been involved with the top secret Neptune Project and it's just about to bear fruit - but there's a major setback when he suffers a terrible car crash on a conference trip to East Germany. The American authorities demand his return, and a couple of months later representatives of the U.S. Government and F.B.I. man Sean Rogers (Elliott Gould) are standing at a checkpoint in the middle of the night to welcome Dr Martino. However, there's an unforseen problem: when the scientist approaches, they notice that he doesn't look himself, in fact he looks like some kind of robot. Now the question that they must pose is whether this is the real Dr Martino under all those prosthetics, or if it is an imposter designed to glean as many secrets as possible...

Adpated from the science fiction novel of the much respected Algys Budrys by John Gould, who had also adapted the film version of The Blockhouse, Who? is a strange beast, a relic of the Cold War, obviously not on a high budget, and somewhat scuppered by answering the title question shortly after it begins. The story is heavily reliant on flashbacks to the experiences Martino endured behind the Iron Curtain, which seem to clear up just, well, who this robotic figure the Americans are puzzling over really is. His accident has left him with one of his original arms, but the rest of him is mechanical, with a "nuclear pacemaker" fueling his new machine heart, and various bits and bobs replaced.

Other films might have given this character superhuman strength to go along with his new body, but this isn't Robocop and his abilities are pretty much what they were before he was almost killed, so there's no bending steel bars on his cell window in an attempt to escape here. Those scenes in East Germany have the unsettling quality of a nineteen-seventies public information film about artificial limbs, and seem to bode well for a disquieting meditation on what it means to be human as nobody on the American side can quite believe Martino is who he says he is. He suggests testing his fingerprints but it could be the scientist's arm grafted onto the robot shell, so interrogation is the only way forward - exactly the same interrogation as he underwent with the Communists.

Elliott Gould seems a strange choice for a tough talking F.B.I. agent (was Lee Marvin not available?) and in truth he never inhabits his role to any great believability; if Rogers' identity was in question it might have been little surprise. As it is, Martino is sensitively played by Bova, or at least he does his best with having a head like an oversized ball bearing, but the flashbacks to the scientist's previous life are dramatically dull as he hasn't done anything of much interest except be a brilliant scientist, so if these sequences were meant to flesh out his humanity then they fail. A few items of plotting reveal the producers were uncertain how exciting all this would be, so a gratuitous car chase is included for action purposes. A last minute question in the minds of the audience about Martino's identity offers suspense for the closing stages, but it's not quite enough and what you're left is a thoughtful curio best stumbled across on late night television. Music by John Cameron.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 3575 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan


Last Updated: