Sunday, May 21, 2023



This is one of the most obscure films that Peter Cushing appeared in, and I finally caught up with it this weekend. The most notable thing about SOME MAY LIVE is that it is a 1967 Vietnam War tale. Almost no fictional movies or TV shows referenced the conflict at that time. Despite that fact, the film is a very routine espionage tale. 

Peter Cushing plays John Meredith, an esteemed foreign correspondent based in Saigon. Meredith is also a communist agent, and he receives information from his wife Kate (Martha Hyer), who works as a decoder for the U.S. military. Kate is conflicted over what she is doing--she's particularly worried about the future of her young son. Kate confesses to Colonel Woodward (Joseph Cotten) about her activities, and he and Captain Thomas (John Ronane) conceive of a plan to use the woman to feed the communists counter-info. Complicating matters is the fact that Kate and Captain Thomas are attracted to one another. 

SOME MAY LIVE isn't much of a war story or a spy thriller. It's a very dry, talky picture, with almost no action. David T. Chantler's script has plenty of clunky dialogue, and director Vernon Sewell presents things in a boring, perfunctory manner. The production was filmed in England, even though it appears there were a few location shots taken somewhere in Asia (I tried to find exact info on this, but couldn't). The overall budget seems to be on the same level of a TV sitcom. In a number of scenes one hears background noises of guns and explosions going off, in an attempt to remind the viewer that the story is set in a war zone, but you never for a moment believe any of the characters are in any danger. 

One has to wonder why Peter Cushing agreed to be in this film--maybe he just liked to have a chance to be in a contemporary story without any horror or science-fiction elements. His John Meredith isn't a very likable fellow--he's cold and pensive, and Cushing looks uncomfortable playing the man (at one point Meredith even strikes his wife). Cushing does try to show Meredith's human side when he is getting ready to leave his wife and son and defect to China, but the actor is let down by Vernon Sewell's flat direction. I'm sure Cushing enjoyed working with Martha Hyer, but unfortunately he has no scenes with Joseph Cotten. 

Martha Hyer is the real star of the film, and she does an effective job of playing a character that acts in a very inconsistent manner (the fault of that is the script, not the actress). Joseph Cotten doesn't get much to do in his guest star role, and way too much of the movie's running time is spent on John Ronane's Captain Thomas and his mediocre attempts at wooing Kate Meredith. Ronane comes off like an overeager teenager chasing a woman who is far out of his league. 

Peter Cushing and Martha Hyer in SOME MAY LIVE

David T. Chantler had written the script for Hammer's version of SHE, which Peter Cushing appeared in, and Alec Mango, who plays a communist spymaster here, acted with Cushing in FRANKENSTEIN CREATED WOMAN. Cushing would soon work again with director Vernon Sewell in THE BLOOD BEAST TERROR. That film, at least, is weird enough to be interesting. SOME MAY LIVE is just plain dull. It's a rare title for Cushing fans, but it must be pointed out that the actor isn't onscreen during the climax. 

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