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Four Sided Triangle (1953)

Barbara Payton , James Hayter , Terence Fisher  |  NR |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Barbara Payton, James Hayter, Stephen Murray, John Van Eyssen, Percy Marmont
  • Directors: Terence Fisher
  • Writers: Terence Fisher, Paul Tabori, William F. Temple
  • Producers: Alexander Paal, Michael Carreras
  • Format: Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.37:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: April 18, 2000
  • Run Time: 81 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305807906
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #398,304 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Four Sided Triangle" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Exclusive World of Horror episode: The Curse Of Frankenstein

Editorial Reviews

Produced by England's famous Hammer Studios, FOUR SIDED TRIANGLE is one of the first of many Hammer films to feature a mad scientist, played here by Stephen Murray. Murray stars as Dr. Bill Leggat who, along with his childhood friends Lena and Robin, creates a machine that can flawlessly replicate anything, be it animate or inanimate. Undermining the trio's professional relationship is the sexual tension that has been brewing for years. Both men are attracted to Lena, but, on the eve of the public announcement of their invention, Lena declares her love for Robin. Devastated, Bill decides to clone Lena, and names the clone, who has all of Lena's feelings and memories, Helen. Confident that Helen will love him, Bill takes her on a holiday. However, while away, Bill's relationship with Helen does not go as planned, causing Bill to resort to some shady experiments on Helen that will force her to love him. A creepy classic horror film that bears some resemblance to FRANKENSTEIN, FOUR SIDED TRIANGLE is an excellent and thought provoking example of 1950s science fiction cinema.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a viewing for sci-fi fans... July 19, 2003
This is not really a horror picture, as you might naturally expect from the Hammer logo, and the synopsis on the back of the case. Any horror here is not visceral, and not even psychological. If anything, the horror (such as it is), is posed philosophically.
Actually a sci-fi effort, "The Four Sided Triangle" is a very good British black and white film from 1953. The production values are really pretty good, although the film was obviously made inexpensively. I liked the cast, location shooting, cinematography, and the basic overall story, which is in the best tradition of sci-fi short stories.
Two scientists create a new process to "reproduce" matter from energy (think of a cross between a photocopier and the replicators on "Star Trek"). Both scientists are in love with the same girl, and one is bound to lose when she finally chooses between them. However, the loser hits upon the idea of replicating the girl, so everyone can be happy and get what they want... at least on paper.
The gadget at the center of the tale, the "reproducer", is important but incidental. The device serves to facilitate the "what if?" quality of the story, making the normally impossible suddenly somehow possible. Scientific explanations of the device are not necessary, because the story is about how the characters react to the new problems their invention creates. In other words, the real story is between the characters, and unlike today's cineplex-infesting tripe, the focus is not on the special effects.
The film asks big questions that it never answers, and even then, it only asks them indirectly. Regardless, while the film is not completely successful, it does manage satisfy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars solid intersting Hammer film--a must for Hammer fans October 8, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
In the Four sided triangle, one can see nearly all of the history of Hammer horror spread out before the viewer. In this 1953 Terence Fisher, one can see the literate scripts, the attention to detail, the interest in small village life, the location shooting, the direction towards realism, early-though low key-gore and a buxom blonde. About the only thing we don't get is a Christopher Lee or a Peter Cushing. Even Michael Ripper did not make it for this one. The film is much better than it's reputation. While not slam bang, it is always interesting and has a more human touch with tragic elements than usual with Hammer. The film is in B & W and filmed very well in that medium. Considering Hammer's rep for bringing color to horror, it is significant to see that they could use B & W quite exquisitly if they choose too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Left side of Hammer April 2, 2012
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
4 SIDED TRIANGLE is an early example of Hammer sci-fi/horror yet to come. Produced in 1952, it is an acquired taste to be sure, being very British in it's general decorum and language, but definitely well worth looking at and learning to enjoy. Borrowing a theme from METROPOLIS, it recounts the tale of a somewhat mad scientist's creating a duplicate of his best friend's girl for himself. Naturally, he doesn't realize the dangers therein. It also has one of the few on video performances of the poor late Barbara Payton that is worth viewing. Enjoy!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Early Hammer Sci-Fi Entry Shines. March 21, 2010
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
THE FOUR SIDED TRIANGLE is a remarkable little black and white film that scores on a number of levels. The sci-fi angle about a machine that can duplicate matter is strongly reminiscent of THE FLY although this is 5 years earlier. The lab scenes involving the machine are imaginatively handled for the time and show the editing prowess of director Terence Fisher who in just a few short years would launch Hammer Horror with CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN and DRACULA. On the surface this is standard sci-fi stuff similar to a TWILIGHT ZONE or an OUTER LIMITS episode but what really sets it apart is the central story of a love triangle with a decidedly novel twist.

Bill, Robin, and Lena are three children from an English village who grow up together. They are the best of friends but when Lena goes to America, the two friends go to college and work on their dream of creating a machine that can make a perfect copy of anything placed in it. A few years later Lena returns and with both men in love with her, she chooses Robin over Bill. Bill then decides to duplicate her in his machine so there will be two Lenas, one for each of them. Unfortunately the duplicate (no clones back then) has the same memories and the same feelings as the original and this leads to a must unusual ending.

The film unfolds in a leisurely way with a narrator/character similar to the one in OUR TOWN. The acting of the three principals especially Barbara Payton in the double role, is quite accomplished. Payton who was known for her sexpot roles and troubled life off screen (she died at only 39), gives the performance of her career and reminds us of how underused she was by American filmmakers. Despite the sci-fi trappings THE FOUR SIDED TRIANGLE, as the title implies, is essentially a love story which packs a surprising emotional punch. Just don't expect Hammer Horror and remember, the film is in black and white.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Bill and Robin Hammer out their differences January 25, 2009
Bill, Robin, and Lena (Stephen Murray, John Van Eyssen, and Barbara Payton) where friends since childhood. After diverging lives, they soon combine their talents to build a replicator, a device that can copy anything making a precise copy. Soon Lena must make up her mind as to who she will marry as it was inevitable. She picks Robin leaving bill as odd man out. No worry as Bill envisions a radical plan that we have all ready guesses. What will be the results?

This early Hammer film may have been a precursor to "The Fly" (1958.) At least the technical part. However, I believe as with all good Sci-Fi and many other genres this is a vehicle for people, their emotions, and how we deal with each other. The film is in the old English style and in black and white. It starts out in the tradition of "Our Town" as the local doctor narrates the story to us as a third party.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good to view
Tape and case in excellent condition.
Published 6 days ago by Jean-Paul
5.0 out of 5 stars Four Sided Triangle VHS
A bizarre movie but I liked it. The VHS tape arrived in great condition
and very quickly. The dealer is excellent and I would buy from him again.
Published on July 15, 2011 by Charles L. Rever Jr.
4.0 out of 5 stars FOUR SIDED TRIANGLE - Good Sci-Fi flick for its Time
Four Sided Triangle was a good sci-fi flick for its time and I rate it at four stars. The plot was a bit farfetched and involved a reproduction machine that may as well have been... Read more
Published on January 29, 2009 by Keith Mirenberg
3.0 out of 5 stars You make me feel like a woman...
From Terrance Fisher, director of such Hammer Studios classics as The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Dracula (1958), and The Mummy (1959) comes the less than stellar, but still... Read more
Published on March 20, 2004 by cookieman108
1.0 out of 5 stars Early Hammer disaster.
Unfortunately, the script is irreconcilably one dimensional. Whilst some may claim this to be an interesting pre-curser of Fisher's later Hammer Frankensteins, it simply isn't -... Read more
Published on June 17, 2001 by Christopher C Jackson
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Concept - Stale Plot
Not necessarily Hammer's finest production, Four-Sided Triangle is interesting for its central concept, but a stale plot makes for a mostly dated and anemic film. Read more
Published on June 13, 2000 by M. Phillips
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