PAPER MAN (1971)
Article 3835 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 2-3-2012
Posting Date: 2-13-2012
Directed by Walter Grauman
Featuring Dean Stockwell, Stefanie Powers, James Stacy
What it is: Thriller
Four students take advantage of a computer error that causes a credit card to be issued to a non-existent person named Henry Norman. When complications arise, they enlist the help of a computer expert to plant information about the non-existent man into a computer. But the non-existent man begins to take on a life of his own… and the deaths begin.
I remember the TV ads for this one; it looked a bit mysterious, but there was something about it that had the air that I would be disappointed by its fantastic content. Having watched it now, I know back then I would have been too young to appreciate it. However, that’s not to say that I’m totally thrilled by it now; it does have an intriguing premise, and the first two-thirds of the movie are fairly eerie, but I’m afraid I find the direction rather static and lifeless, and the script is uneven. The fantastic content has to do with the possibility of the computer actually creating a real entity from someone who only exists on paper, and though the movie eventually moves in things in a decidedly non-fantastic direction, it doesn’t quite let go of the fantastic content altogether; there’s one final twist before it’s all over. It’s interesting, if not quite successful.