The Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler (1971)

Article 3970 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 7-5-2012
Directed by Bob Wynn
Featuring Leslie Nielsen, Bradford Dillman, James Daly
Country: USA
What it is: Conspiracy thriller

A news reporter is on the spot when a senator is involved in a near-fatal car crash. However, he becomes suspicious when the body of the senator is spirited away from the hospital and the authorities deny that the accident took place. He resolves to discover the truth…

After a poorly-executed crash sequence and a cheesy opening credits sequence, I was expecting the worst from this low-budget thriller. True, the direction and editing remain pedestrian at best throughout this movie. However, the script itself is another matter; whatever flaws may exist in this movie, the script shows a remarkable intelligence and thoughtfulness in dealing with its central issue – the creation of clone-like duplicates for people designed to be used as organ banks. The script takes a special care in exploring the various ethical questions about the procedure itself, as well as speculating on the circumstances under which it would be used. As a result, the movie remains very relevant indeed. The movie has a rather audacious ending in that it leaves the central conflict of the story unresolved; though this could be easily be perceived as a flaw, I notice it has the effect of leaving the viewer to speculate on his own about the issues raised by the movie, rather than resorting to either of the two pat endings (happy/cynical) that it could have used, either of which could have brought an end to the viewer’s desire to actually think about the movie. For these reasons, the movie is worth catching, despite its flaws.


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