Now on Blu-ray: The Oddball Cold War Thriller ‘Who?’

Who?

The paranoia that sprouted due to the Cold War has been the subject of countless films, from the darkly comic to the terrifying realization of our collective worst nightmares. Of all the films that documented the fears of the Cold War there may be none odder than Who?, the unusual drama starring Elliott Gould and directed by Jack Gold. This oddball Cold War drama is now the subject of a brand new Blu-ray from the folks over at Kino Lorber and makes this different kind of paranoid thriller available to whole new set of audiences that may have never known about this movie.

The plot of Who? revolves around American scientist Lucas Martino (Joseph Bova), who is nearly killed in a car accident along the border of the Soviet Union. The Soviets tend to the wounds of the scientist and nurse him back to health before returning to him to the Americans six months later. Martino is brought to the Americans but he’s not the least bit recognizable as a human being, his face and body having been fully restored in metal from head to toe. FBI agent Sean Rogers (Gould) refuses to take the story at face value. Convinced that Martino is not who says he is, Rogers interrogates the metallic scientist and questions every angle of his story. For Rogers, Martino may be a brainwashed agent for Soviet Colonel Azarin (Trevor Howard), a plant to steal nuclear secrets. The movie then moves back and forth, exploring the parallels between the American and Soviet interrogation techniques, but keeping the audience guessing as to whether or not Lucas Martino is who he says he is.

Modern audiences might have a hard time looking past the film’s low budget aesthetic. The metallic makeup used to create the mechanized Martino, well, they haven’t aged well. It’s a goofy combination of plastic and silver makeup that looks silly with modern eyes. That being said, Who? doesn’t work as a movie because of effects, it works because it captures the paranoia of the Cold War and illustrates the similarities between the tactics and distrust on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Whether it’s the work of Sean Rodgers for the Americans or Colonel Azarin for the Soviets, they both see Martino as a piece to be played against the other side. They’re each willing to subject Martino to dehumanizing methods in order to achieve their goals of espionage.

The two headlining stars of Who?, Elliott Gould and Trevor Howard, never share a scene together despite the fact that their two characters are opposite sides of the same coin. Gould, who was always one of the coolest actors of the ‘70s, doesn’t quite bring that same even-keeled sense of cool that you would find in films like The Long Goodbye, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t bring gravitas to his abundantly paranoid FBI agent. Conversely, the legendary Trevor Howard doesn’t avail himself quite as well, perhaps due to the fact that the British actor inflects an uneven Russian accent as a Soviet leader. It is impossible to truly evaluate the performance of Joseph Bova as Martino due to the fact the actor is obscured by the odd makeup and constricting prosthetics.

Director Jack Gold brings a journeyman’s touch to the style of Who?. The film isn’t showy or flashy in the directorial style and most of the film’s strengths stem from the script by John Gould’s adaptation of the novel by Algis Budrys. Who? crafts tension from the lingering question of its title, and the manner with which the film bounces back and forth between the two sides and their treatment of Martino that makes the viewer doubt the identity of the metal man. It’s not until the film’s final scenes that the truth is revealed, and a number of revelations within the story as it unfolds does a magnificent job of keeping the audience guessing.

The Blu-ray features an audio commentary by director Jack Gold and moderated by film historian Anthony Sloman. Aside from the commentary, a trailer gallery is the only other special feature on the disc. This Blu-ray set is not a restoration. It’s obvious that the film’s print was transferred in high definition with little done to clean up any specks of dust or scratches to the print. That never really becomes distracting until the film’s final scene, when the print flickers in moments. I can’t fault the people at Kino Lorber for not undertaking a meticulous restoration of a movie that few know exists and it’s a miracle that such an oddity has found its way onto Blu-ray at all.

Who? is a movie that is of its time and place in history, capturing the distrust that permeated throughout the world as the two superpowers engaged in a war without bullets or fronts. The film’s modest budget doesn’t allow the film to feel fresh in the 40-plus years since its release, but it is a fascinating movie as it captures a bygone political climate that may be resurrected. Who? isn’t great and it isn’t terrible, just an unusual movie that entertains for 90 minutes thanks in part to the charisma of Elliott Gould at the peak of his powers. It’s reviving forgotten and overlooked movies like Who? that makes Kino Lorber an invaluable part of the cinematic landscape, bringing the obscure back to the forefront for all those who might want to peer upon the oddities of the past.

Shop Deadpool tees in our officially licensed Marvel store!

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
‘The Gifted’ Red Carpet Photos from SDCC 2017

We recently covered the Fox red carpet for the new X-Men...

Will Smith, Joel Edgerton and Cast Talk about ‘Bright’ at the SDCC 2017 Press Conference

This past weekend, Will Smith, Joel Edgerton and the rest of...

Batman and Harley Quinn Review
The Dark Knight Lightens Things Up – Batman and Harley Quinn Review

One of my favorite things about the influx of hero content...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
blade runner
BLADE RUNNER 2049 – Atari Partners with NECA and Audiowear

Atari announced a partnership with leading action figure and collectibles maker...

atari
Atari 2600, Sega Genesis, and Handheld Prices Announced

AtGames announced pricing for its Fall 2017 lineup of classic gaming...

Sega Details Activities in New Yakuza Kiwami Trailer.

Sega released a new trailer showing of the various side activities...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
viz
VIZ Media Announces New Manga and Literary Acquisitions At Anime Expo

VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), a premier company in the fields of...

9.0/10
Supergirl Makes Contact in ‘Supergirl Being Super’

Title: Supergirl Being Super #4 Writer: Mariko Tamaki Artist: Joelle Jones...

9.0/10
Marvin Attacks!

Title: Martian Manhunter/Marvin the Martian Writers: Steve Orlando and Frank J....

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Alter Ego Release Groot and Deadpool for SDCC

From Alter Ego – Cary, NC: Florida based lifestyle accessories company,...

Hasbro SDCC2017
The Most Notorious Booth at Comic-Con, Hasbro SDCC17 Line-Up

Hasbro to Showcase Its Top Entertainment & Fan-Favorite Brands at the...

atgames
AtGames Announces Pre-order Date for New Atari 2600/Sega Genesis Consoles

AtGames announced that pre-orders will start on July 28th for the new Atari...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Bellator MMA Signs Gegard Mousasi

From Bellator MMA – LOS ANGELES — Bellator MMA is proud...

New Japan Pro-Wrestling G1 Special Live from Long Beach, CA

July 1, 2017, Long Beach, CA – Tonight, for the first...

Bellator Announces Broadcast Duties For Historic Event At Madison Square Garden On Saturday, June 24

From Bellator MMA – LOS ANGELES – With the recently announced...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Comics on the Can: Schick Hydrobot and the Transformers

Written by John Barber, Pencils by Steve Kurth, Inks by Juan...

Star Wars Themed Lands Will be the Perfect Safe House for the Rebellion and the First Order

Disney’s D23 Expo has revealed a lot of what is to...

Paul Bottos, The Ultimate Mickey Mouse Collector

What makes a fan an ultimate collector? Is it the size...

Event News Event Reviews
Black Panther Custom 2018 Lexus LC
Lexus, Marvel Unveil Black Panther Custom 2018 Lexus LC @SDCC

From Lexus – SAN DIEGO (July 18, 2017) — Today, on the...

lezhin
Thousands Swarm Lezhin at Anime Expo

Multiple times per day at Anime Expo this year, the aisles...

Symbiosis
Shmaltz Brewing Releases the Collector’s Edition Star Trek Symbiosis Ale

SHMALTZ BREWING CELEBRATES THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF STAR TREK: THE NEXT...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Gaming Uncensored: Year in Review 2016

A look back at the year in gaming.

Gaming Uncensored Roundtable: December 2016

December’s roundtable discusses story in games with Chad, Josh, and Spencer....

Gaming Uncensored: Podcast #349

Jamie reflects on some of his time with the HTC Vive....

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Lahna Turner’s ‘Limeade’ is a Hilariously Haunting Comedy Album

Many people are roll their eyes at the idea of musical...

Prince’s ‘Deliverance’ Reminds Us of Who We Lost

On Friday, April 21st, it will be one year since we...

Sabroso Fest, How can you go Wrong with Beer, Tacos and Lucha Libre!?!(Photo Gallery)

The Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco and Music Festival sponsored by 95.5...