Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler, The

Tagged: Film

Film (1971; vt The Resurrection of Clayton Zachary Wheeler). Madison Productions, Inc/Gold Key Entertainment. Produced by Robert Stabler (credited as Bob Stabler). Directed by Bob Wynn. Written by Jay Simms and Tom Rolf. Cast includes Angie Dickenson, Bradford Dillman and Leslie Nielsen. 100 minutes. Colour.

US Senator Clayton Zachary Wheeler (Dillman) is involved in an auto accident which leaves him very near death; this s witnessed by television news reporter Harry Walsh (Nielsen). Walsh reports the accident on that evening's newscast,only to be fired for presenting a false story – Wheeler is supposedly on a vacation fishing trip, instead. Undeterred, Walsh continues to investigate, learning that Wheeler has been taken to a secret medical facility somewhere in the New Mexico desert; he has to flee from the shadowy organization which operates the facility. Wheeler has meanwhile revived in almost perfect health; with help from Dr Layle Johnson (Dickenson), Wheeler learns that his life was saved by a top secret cloning process used by various highly influential people in the US government who produce such Clones for organ harvesting, which offers near-Immortality to insiders. The clones have no minds of their own but are otherwise healthy individuals called "somas". Wheeler is running for US President and was saved because the Secret Masters behind this project support his campaign. Wheeler is repulsed, and debates the ethics of the process with Dr Johnson, who eventually betrays him when he attempts to expose the matter to the world. Walsh is finally captured and apparently killed, his own efforts to reveal the project foiled at every turn. The ending is somewhat unclear as to whether it is the original Senator Wheeler or a perfected clone of him who survives.

This seems to be the first feature film with cloning for Organlegging purposes as a central part of its plot, predating both Parts: The Clonus Horror (1979), and The Island, (2005) in its basic storyline. [GSt]

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