HAUSER’S MEMORY (1970)
Article 2082 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-27-2006
Posting Date: 4-25-2007
Directed by Boris Sagal
Featuring David McCallum, Susan Strasberg, Helmut Kautner
A doctor is given permission to perform an experiment by which one person’s memories may be passed on to another person through the use of RNA. When a suitable test subject cannot be found, the doctor volunteers to be the subject, but his assistant beats him to it. The assistant than begins a personality transformation as he recovers the memory of the donor; a scientist by the name of Hauser.
One of the moments that I most enjoy about this movie-watching series is when two consecutive movies dovetail in interesting ways. Yesterday’s movie, THE GROUNDSTAR CONSPIRACY, was a political thriller whose plot hinged upon the memories (or lack thereof) of the primary character, and here is another political thriller in which a man’s memories come into play. The movie looks surprisingly classy for a TV movie; in fact, if it weren’t for the language and a few specific scenes, I thought THE GROUNDSTAR CONSPIRACY looked more like a TV movie than this one did. This is a fairly good movie, with a strong (if slightly repetitive) performance by David McCallum as a man struggling with a new personality. The movie works best towards the beginning, but problems arise in the latter part of the movie; in particular, there are so many double agents and reversals of fortunes for the main character that it almost becomes a bit comic. The ending left me disappointed, though I’m not sure why; I’m guessing that it just didn’t come off as well as it could have. Still, it was the ending that reminded me of one of the opening credits; the movie was based on a novel by Curt Siodmak, and I suddenly recognized the strong resemblance to two other works by him; namely, DONOVAN’S BRAIN and BLACK FRIDAY, both stories about people being taken over by the personalities of others; it must have been a favorite theme of his.