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The Man Who Could Cheat Death is a 1959 British horror film, directed by Terence Fisher and starring Anton Diffring, Hazel Court, and Christopher Lee. Jimmy Sangster adapted the screenplay from the play The Man in Half Moon Street by Barré Lyndon, which had been previously filmed in 1945. The Man Who Could Cheat Death was produced by Michael Carreras and Anthony Nelson Keys for Hammer Film Productions. It was released in the US on 19 August 1959 and in the UK on 30 November 1959.


In Paris, France in 1890, Dr. Georges Bonnet, a doctor and hobbyist sculptor, abruptly ends the fashionable party he is hosting. Georges harbors a secret; though he appears to be in his mid-30s, he is actually 104-years-old, and has kept his youth and vitality through parathyroid gland transplants every 10 years. Professor Ludwig Weiss of Vienna, co-discoverer of this anti-ageing process, is three weeks late in arriving at Georges's home to perform the latest transplant. As a result, Georges must drink a steaming green elixir every six hours to stay young, though the elixir only buys him four weeks without the transplant. When Georges latest model, Margo Philippe, comes across Georges drinking the fluid, he strikes her down. When the 89-year-old Ludwig finally arrives, he reveals he will be unable to operate on Georges because a stroke has incapacitated his right hand. Ludwig instructs Georges to find another surgeon.

Surété Inspector LeGris begins to investigate Margo's disappearance and arrives at a dinner party hosted by Georges for Janine Du Bois, a former lover, and Dr. Pierre Gerrard. Georges denies knowing Margo's whereabouts and, when LeGris asks to see the bust of Margo, tells him that he accidentally destroyed it that morning. LeGris leaves and Georges admits to his startled guests that he lied, as the police would probably damage the bust if he turned it over to them. Secretly, Ludwig convinces Pierre to perform the transplant surgery, claiming that Georges is deathly ill and in urgent need of treatment.

After Janine and Pierre have left, Ludwig tells Georges that Pierre will operate. However, Ludwig has grown suspicious of Georges and says it is strange that this is the third of George's models who has gone missing around the time of his transplants. Ludwig discovers that the newest parathyroid gland is from a living person, instead of being "revitalized" from a corpse. When Ludwig confronts Georges that his actions are unjustified, George retorts that he revitalized four glands from corpses but they all died because Ludwig was late, adding to Georges's hatred of being alone in this world. Ludwig destroys the elixir to prevent Georges from continuing; Georges strangles Ludwig to death.

Pierre arrives the following morning to perform the operation, but Georges tells him that Ludwig was unexpectedly called back to Vienna. Pierre refuses to carry on and suggests that Georges find another surgeon. Georges visits other surgeons in Paris to no avail. Meanwhile, LeGris tells Pierre of the disappearances of three young women at 10 year intervals - in London, San Francisco and Bern, Switzerland - and that each modeled for a sculptor who was also doctor but disappeared at the same time as the models. With Margo also missing, LeGris believes Georges is responsible for all the disappearances, but Pierre doubts him, since that would place the suspect in his 60s.

Georges takes Janine to a storeroom which holds his sculptures and proudly shows her the first figurine he made as a boy at the age of 12. The figurine is dated 1798. Janine laughingly says the date must be incorrect because if it weren't, Georges would be 104. Georges abruptly leaves, locking Janine in the storeroom. He then goes to Pierre and tells him that he and Ludwig discovered the secret of "perpetual life" decades earlier, but he cannot reveal the secret to the world because if everyone could live forever, paradoxically, everyone would eventually die without a fresh supply of new parathyroid glands. Pierre, again, refuses to perform the transplant but relents when Georges threatens Janine's life. Janine finds a mentally insane Margo imprisoned in the storeroom.

That night, Pierre fakes the operation by making the incision at Georges's waist but not transplanting the gland. Georges rushes to the storeroom as Pierre and LeGris follow. Georges tells Janine that the same operation will allow her to live forever, always young and beautiful and in love alongside him. She refuses. Suddenly, Georges begins ageing rapidly and realizes that Pierre did not perform the operation. As he exclaims he's dying, Margo throws an oil lamp on him, setting the storeroom ablaze. Pierre and LeGris rescue Janine as Georges and Margo die in the consuming flames.