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Projected Man, The

Entry updated 4 April 2017. Tagged: Film.

Film (1966). Croydon Productions (UK)/Universal Studios (US). Executive producer: Richard Gordon. Produced by John Croydon and Maurice Foster. Directed by Ian Curteis and Croydon (uncredited). Written by John C Cooper, Peter Bryan and Frank Quattrochi. Cast includes Ronald Allan, Tracey Crisp, Derek de Marney, Bryant Halliday, Mary Peach and Norman Wooland. 91 minutes cut to 77 minutes for US release. Colour.

Dr Paul Steiner (Halliday) and Dr Christopher Mitchell (Allen) have created a Matter Transmission device with a range of a few miles. Unfortunately, while inanimate objects are "projected" successfully, the process kills living creatures. Dr Patricia Hill (Peach) arrives and apparently solves the problem. However, Dr Blanchard (Wooland) – one of the Scientists overseeing the project – is being blackmailed by Latham (de Marney), who wants to steal Steiner's credit for the Invention and insists on a premature demonstration. Blanchard places acid in the device on the day of the demonstration: it explodes, cancelling the project funding and ending Latham's blackmail. Mitchell discovers evidence of this tampering and informs Steiner, who after a tense meeting with Blanchard, Latham and Professor Lembach (Gerard Heinz), who has final say over the project, is allowed another chance to prove the device.

Aided by his secretary Sheila (Crisp), Steiner attempts to project himself to Lembach's house, but the experiment is interrupted by the untimely arrival of Hill and Mitchell. Steiner, with half his body disfigured by the process, arrives instead at a construction site where criminals are trying to break into a bank. Now somehow able to destroy with a touch, Steiner kills them, then obtains a coat and rubber gloves as a disguise. Returning to the institute, he abducts Sheila, who tells him of the interference as well as Latham's blackmail. Steiner releases her, and proceeds to kill Blanchard at his house. Moving on to Hill's home and finding her with Mitchell; he explains that he now requires electricity to survive. Rejecting their suggestion of reversing the process, he heads for a power plant. Meanwhile the police, led by Inspector Davis (Derek Farr), realizing the marks on the criminals' and Blanchard's bodies are the same, are closing in. They arrive at the power plant along with Hill and Mitchell. Bullets prove ineffective against Steiner; Davis agrees to allow an attempt to reverse the process, and Steiner returns to the laboratory with Hill and Mitchell. Once there, however, he goes berserk and wrecks the place, setting it ablaze; caught in the beam from the projecting machine, he is apparently disintegrated.

The Projected Man has obvious similarities to The Fly (1958) and 4D Man (1959). Executive producer Gordon denied that The Fly was an influence, saying the script had originally been written by Quattrochi in the 1950s. Quattrochi published a number of sf stories in the SF Magazines during the 1950s and 1960s. [GSt/DRL]


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