Deathwatch (1980)

Deathwatch was a bleak, unsettling 1980 sci-fi film based on the novel 'The Unsleeping Eye' by David G.Compton, this was filmed in and around Glasgow and stars Harry Dean Stanton, Harvey Keitel, and Romy Schneider in what was to be her last film.

In the near future, advances in medical treatment have made death from illness a great rarity - it's barely heard of to die from anything other than old age. But this development has coincided with economic and social decay, riddled with high unemployment, rising crime and a Third World environment. Those few unfortunates who find themselves terminally ill have their final days screened to a voyueristic public on the reality TV show 'Death Watch', the brainchild of ruthless media mogul Vincent Ferriman.

The famous romantic novelist Catherine Mortenhoe is one such person. Because she is known for her reclusiveness, Ferriman persuades young journalist Roddy to have tiny television cameras implanted in his eyes and to then go forth and win Catherine's confidence as a friend - this way, she can be filmed by the cameras in Roddy's eyes without knowing a thing about it. But the winning of her trust proves harder than Roddy expects, and it isn't long before the plan starts to unravel...

The movie had the colour deliberately washed out of it to increase it's grim, desolate effect, and the ending is pure tragedy - Roddy eventually learns that Catherine's illness is faked to increase 'Death Watch's viewing ratings, and in the end his eye-cameras malfunction, sending him blind (so it's all been for nothing). Rarely screened these days on either terrestrial or satellite TV, it was last shown in the early '90s and is worth looking out for- but you need to be feeling strong to watch it!

Ironically, Romy Schneider succumbed to cancer two years after the film was made, after a long and heroic struggle with her disease.

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Do You Remember Deathwatch?

Do You Remember Deathwatch?