Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Paper Man (1971)

Network: CBS
Original Air Date: November 12th, 1971

Paper Man
is a prophetic television movie that captures the primitive look and feel of the early computer systems with a far more elaborate and modern storyline that is just now coming into play in a big way.

Paper Man is about a group of college students who create a fictional person with the school's computer to obtain a credit card. Mostly done for laughs, things seem pretty mundane, if illegal. Only when an unknown someone in the group buys a gun with the card, do ears start to perk up. Then, one by one each of the students begins to turn up dead... killed by some electrical or computerized force (the scene with the killer robot is absolutely chilling).

Paper Man came out all the way back in 1971 (the year I was born!), when a mainframe took up an entire class room. There's lots of blipping lights and funky noises, but the overall theme of the film remains quite relevant. At the time, credit card fraud/identity theft via the computer must have seemed the thing of science fiction (hence the premise) but is sadly an every day occurrence in our modern times.

The cast is great, with Dean Stockwell, James Stacy and one of my all time favorite actresses Stefanie Powers leading the way. The mystery of the killer is solid and is played out nicely. Walter Grauman's direction is top notch. The scene featuring a death by elevator is gruesome and quite suspenseful.

Paper Man is one of the lucky television movies to find a home on DVD. Granted, it's been released on those cheap $1 discs you find at various car washes, drug stores, etc... but it is such a treat when you do come across it! If you see it next time you are buying shampoo, do pick it up! 

This is the version I found


VoyagerG said...

Dean Stockwell?? I am so gonna keep my eyes peeled for this little movie! He's awesome! That giant robot on the cover looks like he's made of paper, the brown bag kind, LOL.

Anonymous said...

You've made my day! I've been looking for the name of this tv movie for years and years and years. I only remembered the plot, but none of the actors. Thank you so much! :)

By the way, awesome blog!

Amanda By Night said...

Hi Anon,

Glad I could help. It's a really good movie. I've seen it a bunch of times!

Ginger, it is kind of ghetto Paper Man, but there's lots of creepy stuff, I swear! :)

Pete said...

I saw it when I was a teenager and it recently popped into my mind and I went looking for it. Netflix has it. It's a great plot, and okay acting, but the video quality is poor. Paper Man was part of a series of made-for-TV movies bill as "Original Dramas" on, I believe, ABC. I would love to see a list of movies in this series. The only other movie in the series that I remember was "The People" which starred William Shatner. I haven't been able to find that one.

Pete said...

Some research shows that my previous post was in error. "The People" was an ABC movie of the week, but "Paper Man" aired on CBS. So much for my degrading memory.

Craig Edwards said...

I quite enjoyed this movie - here's my very brief review from my blog (it's the first review of five in the post)


I did an interview with Dean Stockwell in the mid 1990's that was published in Psychotronic Video magazine. A Stockwell fan put it up on the web - here's a link for Dean Stockwell fans:


I apologize if I'm linking too much!

Amanda By Night said...

I like the linkage Craig... Thank you!! I added you to my blogroll, btw.

Can't wait to read the Stockwell piece!