“We are witnessing an operation that may bring to life a man who — for all normal intents and purposes — has been dead for thirty years.”
30-year-old John Soames (Terence Stamp) is awakened from a lifelong coma by Doctors Bergen (Robert Vaughn) and Maitland (Nigel Davenport), who quickly teach him to move and speak. While Dr. Bergen believes John should experience the outside world, Dr. Maitland refuses, and soon the childlike John runs away, putting his life in grave danger.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Character Arc
- Science Fiction
- Terence Stamp Films
This cult sleeper is based on an undeniably intriguing premise: what if a lifelong coma victim were miraculously awoken and given a chance at life? Unfortunately, however, it falls flat on every count. To begin with, it’s more of a fantasy than strict sci-fi, given that the developmental stages Soames whizzes through upon his “awakening” would be neurologically impossible (mind and body work together to grow and develop; trying to impose learning onto a physically “mature” brain simply couldn’t work). The primary prurient interest of the film lies in watching a grown man act like an infant — much like David Manzy would do to more humorous effect in the twisted black comedy The Baby (1973) three years later — then a toddler, then a young child, then a petulant adolescent, with Soames finally “breaking free” from the restraints of his overbearing guardian and attempting (in typical ’60s/’70s fashion) to “find himself”. The redeeming qualities of … Mr. Soames remain the performances by Stamp and Vaughn, and a couple of unexpectedly amusing moments (see below).
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Terence Stamp as John Soames
- Robert Vaughn as Dr. Bergen
- Soames running around the streets in a furry pink onesie
- Soames scaring a young girl half to death on a train: “There are many trees at the institute… I do not like the institute.”
No; despite its intriguing premise, this one isn’t worth seeking out. Listed as a Sleeper in the back of Peary’s book.