Newest Reviews
Men, The
Parallel Mothers
Sadness, The
Bloody New Year
Body Count
Spider-Man: No Way Home
'Round Midnight
Wild Men
Barry & Joan
Wake Up Punk
Twin, The
Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
One of These Days
Lift to the Scaffold
Savage Dawn
Rest in Pieces
Innocents in Paris
We're All Going to the World's Fair
Beyond the Door 3
Jules et Jim
Love Jones
Souvenir Part II, The
400 Blows, The
Virus: 32
Studio 666
Great Movement, The
Lost in La Mancha
Cellar, The
Sacred Spirit, The
Chess of the Wind
Nineteen Eighty-Four
All I Can Say
You Are Not My Mother
Silent Enemy, The
Small Body
Newest Articles
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
The Punk Rock Movie: Out of the Blue on Blu-ray
Yeah, Too Quiet: The Great Silence on Blu-ray
  Who? That Is The Question
Year: 1973
Director: Jack Gold
Stars: Elliott Gould, Trevor Howard, Joseph Bova, Edward Grover, John Lehne, James Noble, Lyndon Brook, Michael Lombard, Kay Tornborg, Joy Garrett, John Stewart, Bruce Boa, Fred Vincent, Alexander Alllerson, Ivan Desny
Genre: Thriller, Science FictionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: An American scientist, Dr Lucas Martino (Joseph Bova), has been involved with the top secret Neptune Project and it's just about to bear fruit - but there's a major setback when he suffers a terrible car crash on a conference trip to East Germany. The American authorities demand his return, and a couple of months later representatives of the U.S. Government and F.B.I. man Sean Rogers (Elliott Gould) are standing at a checkpoint in the middle of the night to welcome Dr Martino. However, there's an unforseen problem: when the scientist approaches, they notice that he doesn't look himself, in fact he looks like some kind of robot. Now the question that they must pose is whether this is the real Dr Martino under all those prosthetics, or if it is an imposter designed to glean as many secrets as possible...

Adpated from the science fiction novel of the much respected Algys Budrys by John Gould, who had also adapted the film version of The Blockhouse, Who? is a strange beast, a relic of the Cold War, obviously not on a high budget, and somewhat scuppered by answering the title question shortly after it begins. The story is heavily reliant on flashbacks to the experiences Martino endured behind the Iron Curtain, which seem to clear up just, well, who this robotic figure the Americans are puzzling over really is. His accident has left him with one of his original arms, but the rest of him is mechanical, with a "nuclear pacemaker" fueling his new machine heart, and various bits and bobs replaced.

Other films might have given this character superhuman strength to go along with his new body, but this isn't Robocop and his abilities are pretty much what they were before he was almost killed, so there's no bending steel bars on his cell window in an attempt to escape here. Those scenes in East Germany have the unsettling quality of a nineteen-seventies public information film about artificial limbs, and seem to bode well for a disquieting meditation on what it means to be human as nobody on the American side can quite believe Martino is who he says he is. He suggests testing his fingerprints but it could be the scientist's arm grafted onto the robot shell, so interrogation is the only way forward - exactly the same interrogation as he underwent with the Communists.

Elliott Gould seems a strange choice for a tough talking F.B.I. agent (was Lee Marvin not available?) and in truth he never inhabits his role to any great believability; if Rogers' identity was in question it might have been little surprise. As it is, Martino is sensitively played by Bova, or at least he does his best with having a head like an oversized ball bearing, but the flashbacks to the scientist's previous life are dramatically dull as he hasn't done anything of much interest except be a brilliant scientist, so if these sequences were meant to flesh out his humanity then they fail. A few items of plotting reveal the producers were uncertain how exciting all this would be, so a gratuitous car chase is included for action purposes. A last minute question in the minds of the audience about Martino's identity offers suspense for the closing stages, but it's not quite enough and what you're left is a thoughtful curio best stumbled across on late night television. Music by John Cameron.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 4121 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Enoch Sneed


Last Updated: