Tuesday, May 30, 2023

The Full Treatment

Columbia Pictures seemed to get the rights to a lot of British movies that got released in the US. One such movie that I had never heard of until its recent airing on TCM is Stop Me Before I Kill!, which was known in the UK as The Full Treatment although I think that the American title is more descriptive.

Ronald Lewis plays Alan Colby, a British racecar driver who likes to go fast not only on the racecourse, thinking the roads are designed to be safe at rather higher speeds than the speed limit. However, one day while out in his sports car with his wife Denise (Diane Cilento), he gets in a head-on accident with a truck that kills the truck driver and leaves him in a coma for some time, although Denise seems unharmed. Alan obviously comes out of the coma since this all happens at the beginning of the movie, but there's still going to be a long recovery ahead, and who knows whether he'll ever be able to race again.

After getting out of long-term care, Alan heads off to the south of France for some much-needed recuperation. There, they meet a psychiatrist, Dr. Prade (Claude Dauphin), who also has a practice in London. Meanwhile, Alan finds out that one of his problems from the accident is post-concussion syndrome, or perhaps what we'd nowadays call CTE. His personality has changed, and he's prone to violent mood swings, with the emphasis on violent. He gets so violent on one occasion that he actually tries to strangle his wife, for reasons neither of them can comprehend.

Denise, obviously concerned, goes off to see Dr. Prade in the hopes that perhaps Prade can do something to help Alan. After all, Prade is a psychiatrist and should be an expert in this sort of thing. Prade starts working with Alan, putting Alan into some sort of drug-induced hypnosis in the hopes that Alan will be able to remember enough details about the accident to figure out what it is that's really making him have these thoughts about trying to kill his wife.

Eventually, Alan has a breakthrough that should enable him to be cured of his condition, and he and his wife go back to London to live happily ever after. Except that things don't go quite that smoothly. Alan wakes up one morning to find his wife missing and, when Dr. Prade comes over, Alan discovers that he's committed murder in exactly the way he had had bad dreams about doing....

Stop Me Before I Kill! is another of those interesting movies that has some serious problems. In the case of this movie, that big problem is the fact that it's pretty darn obvious where the movie is going to be going. Some of the scenes are obviously foreshadowed, such as the key scene of Alan waking up to find the apartment a murder scene. There's another scene at the beginning that seems out of place, until a few minutes before the end when you know exactly what's going to happen.

Still, as I said, Stop Me Before I Kill! is interesting if a fair bit of nonsense in terms of what would really happen to somebody who suffered an accident like this. Even despite its flaws, it's worth at least one watch.

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