The Cloning of Clifford Swimmer (1974)

THE CLONING OF CLIFFORD SWIMMER (1974)
TV-Movie episode of “Wide World Mystery”
Article 3801 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-31-2011
Posting Date: 1-10-2012
Directed by Lela Swift
Featuring Peter Haskell, Sheree North, Lance Kerwin
Country: USA
What it is: Science fiction crime story

An unhappy husband is offered a chance to escape his current life by a doctor he’s seeing; the doctor has created a clone of the husband who will take his place, letting the real husband escape to a new life. However, things don’t work out as smoothly as planned…

In some ways, this episode of the TV series “Wide World Mystery” reminds me of SECONDS, in that it deals with a man who is given the opportunity to escape his life and start a fresh new existence. The similarity doesn’t last long, though; since the husband is a hateful, abusive individual who you’ll end up hating (and the clone is a nice, gentle, loving man), this movie emphasizes the more melodramatic aspects of the story, and it becomes more of an exercise in making you want to see the husband’s comeuppance. The movie is marred by some bad writing and silly situations, and though the final twist wasn’t what I expected, it’s one in which doesn’t hold up once you start thinking about it. With some rewriting and shortening, it might have worked better as a half-hour episode of “The Twilight Zone”.

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