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The Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler

Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler, The (1971) Movie Poster
  •  USA  •    •  100m  •    •  Directed by: Bob Wynn.  •  Starring: Leslie Nielsen, Bradford Dillman, James Daly, Angie Dickinson, Robert J. Wilke, Jack Carter, Don Haggerty, Lew Brown, Richard Schuyler, Dick Simmons, Bill Bryant, Tristram Coffin, Peter Mamakos.  •  Music by: Marlin Skiles.
      A U.S. Senator is spirited away to a secret New Mexico medical lab after a serious car crash. His injuries are completely healed by a secret organization that has developed advanced medical technology. What does the organization want in exchange for saving his life? Meanwhile, a reporter who witnessed the accident decides to investigate the senator's disappearance.

Review:

Image from: Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler, The (1971)
Image from: Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler, The (1971)
Image from: Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler, The (1971)
Image from: Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler, The (1971)
Image from: Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler, The (1971)
Image from: Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler, The (1971)
Image from: Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler, The (1971)
Image from: Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler, The (1971)
Image from: Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler, The (1971)
Image from: Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler, The (1971)
Image from: Resurrection of Zachary Wheeler, The (1971)
TV reporter Harry Welsh happens to be a witness to a car accident involving the US Senator Clayton Zachary Wheeler. Welsh see this as a good news story, but after taking him to the hospital and getting ready to broadcast it. The senator has suddenly disappeared and has been taken away to a secret hospital in New Mexico. No one believes Welsh and for not detracting his bulletin he is fired, as news came in that the Senator was on a fishing trip. So decides to go ahead and investigate, because he knows that it was the senator he saw half-dead in the car crash. When Wheeler finally comes around, he learns of the new medical technology governed by an elite group, which involves cloning people, and using these identical (but empty) vessels to harvest the organs for important transplants.

What a cheap little unknown gem! I picked up the video at a pawnshop, and when I decided to give it a look. To my surprise the video was still in its packaging, despite the video cases roughed up look. Before the likes of some medical thrillers involving Michael Crichton's "Coma (1978)" and such, this one does seem way before its time and a blue print for those paranoia medical thrillers. The concept behind the film definitely stands up more so today, because of touchy issue of stem cell research. For such low budget restraints it relies more so on story telling by developing a riveting mystery, clever ideas and moody characters. While the action here is very little and extremely dry, it doesn't foil some well placed tension that's sustained by such simple diversions (like fleeing) then anything explosive. On show are raw camera-work and quite a distant, but more often an energetic and high pitch music score that resembled that the golden age of cinema. Make-up for the clones was well conceived and they did provide some startling images. Pacing can get rather stodgy and you call it a rather colourless display, but where it mostly counts, Director Bob Wynn and co have done a fine job with what they had to work with here. At least when it does slow down it gets straight back into it.

The technically well-defined script (that dabs in a touch of sharp wit) goes into thorough detail about the ethics of such power governed by political influence. Where this technology can easily be corrupted and how life is a privilege, where everybody deserves a choice. No matter if these clones can't think on their own behalf, they still can breath, which counts for something. While extremely chatty, they're just so many interesting facets, conspiracies and questions in this thought-provoking material. It could have turn into a shoddy and daftly mess, but the theories thrown up are plausibly integrated. After thinking it might lead to something big. It pretty much leaves you in an insecure state (as there's no real conclusion), which can annoy if you're looking for answers. The performances aren't anything special and for some could be too blunt, but I thought Leslie Nielsen in the lead as Harry Welsh gave in a focused and likable turn. Bradford Dillman as Senator Wheeler, Angie Dickinson as Dr Diana Johnson and James Daly as Dr Redding were more than reasonable.

At best it's conventional film-making, which simply sticks to its strengths.


Review by lost-in-limbo from the Internet Movie Database.