The Man Who Could Cheat Death

The Man Who Could Cheat Death

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Terence Fisher
Produced by Michael Carreras
Anthony Nelson-Keys
Screenplay by Jimmy Sangster
Based on The Man in Half Moon Street by Barré Lyndon
Starring Anton Diffring
Hazel Court
Christopher Lee
Music by Richard Bennett
Cinematography Jack Asher
Edited by John Dunsford
Distributed by Paramount Pictures (US)
Release dates
30 November 1959 (UK)
Running time
83 min.
Country England
Language English
Budget GBP £84,000

The Man Who Could Cheat Death is a 1959 British horror film, directed by Terence Fisher and starring Anton Diffring and Christopher Lee. Jimmy Sangster adapted the screenplay from the play The Man in Half Moon Street by Barré Lyndon, which had been previously filmed in 1945. The Man Who Could Cheat Death was produced by Michael Carreras and Anthony Nelson Keys for Hammer Film Productions. It was released on 30 November 1959.


In Paris during 1890, 104-year-old Georges Bonnet (Diffring) is a sculptor who maintains a youthful appearance by regularly murdering women and using their parathyroid glands as an elixir to ward off the signs of age. When Bonnet requires a vital surgery to be undertaken he asks his old colleague Prof. Ludwig Weiss (Arnold Marlé) to perform it. He declines and Bonnet then blackmails Pierre Gerard (Lee) into performing the operation by endangering the life of Janine Dubois (Hazel Court), a young lady in whom both Bonnet and Gerard are romantically interested.



The film was made on a budget of £84,000.[1] The lead role was originally offered to Peter Cushing, who turned it down only a few days before shooting started on 17 November 1958. The European release of the film featured a scene in which Hazel Court appeared topless.[1]

Critical reception

The Hammer Story: The Authorised History of Hammer Films called the film an "odd mish-mash of mad scientist sci-fi flick and gothic flannel" that "suffers from an excess of dialogue and a lack of action."[2]


  1. 1 2 Hallenbeck 2011, p. 104.
  2. Hearn & Barnes 2007, p. 41.
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