Saturday, September 15, 2007

Film Breakdown - Action - The Double Man (1967)


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1. 1:55 - Opening credits. Ends: 0:01:55

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2. 2:36 - At a military facility, some officers from an Eastern European country confer. There’s a plan afoot and a lot at stake. Ends: 0:04:31

3. 0:29 - A screaming man hurtles down a snowy mountain and lands at the bottom - dead. We see that this is a young man. After the fall, from a bird’s eye view high above the the top of the mountain, two anonymous skiers casually make their way off the mountain, their job now done. Ends: 0:05:00

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4. 0:23 - Montage - Establishing shot of Washington DC at night. A noisy teletype urgently spits out a message addressed to a Dan Slater at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The message reads that with regret, his son has been killed in a skiing accident. D. Slater’s office door shows his title to be Assistant Deputy Director. Ends: 0:05:23

5. 0:40 - Dan Slater (Yul Brynner) exits his office and makes his way down the hall to a colleague. He’s told by an assistant that Edwards is at the Pentagon and Slater drops off the teletype and indicates he’ll be back in 24hrs. The assistant reads the teletype. Ends: 0:06:03

6. 1:48 - Match cut on the teletype and we now find the urgent message being read by Edwards (Lloyd Nolan), presumably Dan Slater’s boss. Exposition reveals to us that the message was from someone called Frank Wheatley, a British agent who has previously worked with Slater. Also, Slater has left the previous night to go to collect his dead son in Austria; his sixteen-year-old son was Slater’s only family. Edwards tells his assistant that he would never have approved Slater going off like that - he’s suspicious of “accidents”. Ends: 0:07:51

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7. 1:22 - Series of Shots - an Austrian train arrives in a snowy village. Skiers exit the station office and begin to board the train. Dan Slater emerges and purposefully walks away from the train. A taxi speeds along a mountain road, snow having been cleared off the road’s surface as though routine. Slater sits in the back. The taxi arrives at a town and Slater exits... he is watched by two men, one of whom we have seen previously as a senior officer but now in civilian clothing posing as a tourist. Slater makes his way to a church. Ends: 0:09:13

8. 3:38 - Slater makes his way up a staircase. We hear the V.O. of a service in progress and Slater enters a larger room to see a priest and some locals standing by a coffin. The coffin is taken away by pallbearers and Frank Wheatley (Clive Revill) and his wife Anna (Julia Arnall) pay their condolences; they were looking after the young man. The son’s ski instructor attempts to say something but is coldly rebuffed by Slater. Slater does not believe this is an accident, though Wheatley tries to reassure him otherwise. Slater is upset & angry. Later when Wheatley asks what he should do with his son’s belongings, he’s told by Slater to burn them. Ends: 0:12:51

9. 2:00 - Slater enters a restaurant; he is still being watched/followed by two men. Inside, he and Wheatley have a drink. Slater apologizes for his outburst in the Church. He reveals that he wrote his son & that his plan was for them to ski together soon... however, Frank Wheatley corrects him to say that Slater’s secretary typed-up a note to send to his son. Slater makes a move to leave and tells Frank he might be back in the Spring. He’s clearly headed back to Washington DC. Ends: 0:14:51

10. 0:45 - Slater and Wheatley say their goodbyes outside the restaurant and Slater boards a newly-arrived train. One of the two men watching Slater boards the train with him while the other stays behind.
Ends: 0:15:36

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11. 1:30 - Slater sits in a full train compartment, stares contemplatively out at the snow-capped mountain scenery flashing past. The man following Slater enters the crowded train corridor and moves towards Slater’s compartment. Slater opens his bag to pour himself a drink from the bottle supplied by Wheatley in the restaurant. Inside his bag however, Slater also finds his son’s blood-stained jacket. The tourists and other train occupants are singing joyously, in abject contrast to what Slater is silently experiencing. In the back of Robert’s jacket are two mysterious holes. Slater makes the connection as to what they might be when he spots a pair of skis nearby and notices their menacing spikes. Ends: 0:17:06

12. 0:35 - Slater’s train arrives at the next town and Slater gets off. He makes his way to the taxi ramp and enters the vehicle, asking to be taken to the International School. As the car takes off, the man who was following him removes the receiver from a public phone. Ends: 0:17:41

13. 2:55 - Slater arrives and walks through the snow into the building. It appears deserted inside. Wheatley’s classroom door is opened and Slater steps in, holding a pair of ski poles he’s picked up at the entrance. Dan interrogates Frank Wheatley as to the whereabouts of his son’s clothing - Frank put everything in a trunk but the jacket in Slater’s bag wasn’t among them. Slater demands an answer and Wheatley has no answer that satisfies Slater. In fact, Slater ends up decking Wheatley with a punch to the jaw. Ends: 0:20:36

13. 0:49 - Slater leaves and Wheatley’s wife Anna tends to Frank. Just then, Frank’s phone rings and it is Dan Slater’s boss at the CIA... Edwards thus hears from Wheatley firsthand how Slater believes his son’s death was no accident. Ends: 0:21:25

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14. 1:36 - Slater is at the medical examiner’s office and hears that despite seeing the marks on the body, these were not the cause of Bobby’s death. Slater argues the marks may prove that his son was pushed to his death. The local police chief discounts this, further suggesting that the last thing he needs in this small skiing community is a murder case. Slater leaves with Wheatley. Ends: 0:23:01

15. 1:24 - While leaving the medical examiner’s office. Wheatley tells Slater that Edwards is worried and wants Slater to call him immediately. The two join Anna in a VW van and Slater asks to be taken to the location where his son Bobby was skiing before his apparent accident. As they head out, one of Slater’s pursuers watches them drive away and quickly follows in his own car. Ends: 0:24:25

16. 1:25 - Slater, Wheatley and Anna arrive at the cable car station at the base of the mountain. Slater decides he wants to go up by himself. Once inside the building, Slater checks out a wall map of the skiing areas on the mountain, specifically eyeing Buler which is where his son was skiing that early morning on the day of his death. Slater insistently knocks on the door of a staff office, much to the consternation of the cable car operators who are having their lunch inside. Ends: 0:25:50

17. 0:54 - Slater’s pursuers meet back at their house and discuss Slater being at the cable car station. It appears everything is going to plan - Slater must continue to do exactly what he’s been doing as regards pursuing his investigation. Ends: 0:26:44

18. 0:58 - Back in the station office, Slater and the two cable car operators are apparently the best of friends. They all discuss Slater’s son - a regular - specifically that morning he rode up on the first cable car of the day. He was not alone but the other passengers in the car that day were a couple of unknown men and a woman who the operator says he would recognize again if he saw her. Ends: 0:27:42

19. 0:45 - Back in Washington DC, Slater’s boss Edwards and his assistant are discussing the facts as they are known regarding the location of the ski resort/town. Clearly, Slater hasn’t yet called Edwards as he was asked to do. Their nearest agent is revealed to be in Zurich and Edwards studies the case folder some more. Ends: 0:28:27

20. 1:03 - An art dealer in Switzerland answers some questions from a potential customer eyeing a sculpture in a gallery. The dealer sees a flashing light and excuses himself... once alone in his office, he unlocks a drawer and takes a phone call from Edwards. The dealer - clearly an Agent - is ordered to contact Slater in the small town of St. Anton in the Austrian Alps. Ends: 0:29:30

21. 1:23 - Having obtained himself some skiing equipment, Dan Slater boards the cable car to go to the top of the mountain. Slater’s pursuer - Berthold (Anton Diffring) - makes sure to board the same cable car ahead of Slater. Ends: 0:30:53

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22. 3:32 - The cable car makes its way up the mountain. Inside, Slater nudges his way through the crowded car to get closer to a young woman looking out the window. It is obvious that back on the ground, the cable car operator gave Slater an indication that this was the woman who went up with his son Bobby on the fateful day. Slater attempts to engage Gina (Britt Ekland) into a conversation and offer to ski with her (for safety) but she’s not interested and moves away. The car arrives at the top and the car disgorges its passengers. Slater follows Gina to another cable car which takes a smaller group of skiers all the way to the very top. Once that car arrives, it is obvious that Slater’s tail - Berthold - is still there with him. Ends: 0:34:25

23. 3:53 - Gina dons her skis and heads down the mountain, followed closely by Slater and then Berthold. Gina eventually figures out she’s being followed and implores Slater to stop doing so. She begins skiing faster when it becomes obvious that Slater has every intention of continuing to follow her. Slater eventually crashes/falls while skiing due to inexperience and taking pity, Gina skis over to offer him some help. However all she really does is rebuke him for trying to ski beyond his abilities and leaves before Slater can say too much. From a distance, Berthold tells Slater where Gina can be found in the town. Slater then heads for the top of the mountain to share Bobby’s last view.
Ends: 0:38:18

24. 0:47 - Miller, the CIA Agent in Zurich posing as an Art Dealer, contacts Edwards and relays the fact that Slater has been in touch. Slater apparently asked him to investigate a few names (eg. Gina). Edwards makes a note of these. Edwards tells Miller to get Slater on the next flight to the U.S. out of Zurich - it’s only a few hours away and Edwards orders him to tell Slater to be on that plane and to call Edwards back once this is confirmed. Ends: 0:39:05

25. 4:00 - Slater arrives at the home of Mrs. Carrington where Gina Erickson is staying. Mrs. Carrington mistakes Slater for a party guest but once the confusion is cleared-up, she invites him to her party that evening and suggests he enters the contest. Slater is flying home that night, so he politely declines. Once alone, Slater begins to grill Gina about what she was doing that fateful Tuesday morning. Annoyed, Gina more or less has him escorted out of the house... however, Slater promises to be back that night based on Mrs. Carrington’s invitation. Ends: 0:43:05

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26. 0:15 - In Zurich, Miller the CIA Agent removes a gun from his office desk drawer. Ends: 0:43:18

27. 2:37 - At the International School, Wheatley receives a phone call for Slater. It is Washington DC and Edwards finally gets to talk to Dan Slater. Edwards is upset that Slater clearly is not flying out that night as ordered... both he and Slater suspect a trap but Slater intends to play it out and see what is going on. Edwards reveals that he’s ordered Miller to join him out of Zurich... he’ll be arriving that night. He orders Slater to stay in the School until Andy Miller arrives; however, later on Slater admits to Wheatley that he’s going out to Mrs. Carrington’s party after all but intends to be back before Miller arrives. Ends: 0:45:55

28. 1:34 - Miller boards a train in Switzerland, presumably to travel to Austria. He is being watched by an unknown character at the train station... once Miller has boarded his train, the anonymous character phones Berthold’s gang. Berthold himself is pleased to hear his news and afterwards reveals that Mrs. Carrington’s butler (an informant) has told him that Slater will be at the party this evening. Berthold shouts up to someone called Max to tell him to get ready. Ends: 0:47:29

29. 4:35 - The party at Mrs. Carrington’s is in full-swing that evening when Slater arrives. Gina makes her way over to Slater... unbeknownst to him, he is also being watched by Berthold and Max, who are themselves guests at the party. Gina is very friendly and the sudden change of mood has Slater’s paranoia raised a notch or two. He asks to speak to Gina privately, away from the party crowd. She takes him upstairs. Once alone in her room, Slater grills Gina about that Tuesday... he asks if she knows or can describe the two men who accompanied her on the cable car. She reveals that one of the men talking to the boy was wearing a ski mask (it was very cold that day). Gina tells Slater that the boy looked happy to be accompanying the masked man. Slater then leaves Gina, having revealed nothing about himself to her. Ends: 0:52:04

30. 2:49 - Slater joins the party downstairs but is annoyed. Berthold makes his way over to Max... both watch as Slater stands by the bar sipping a large Scotch. Max then intercepts Gina and forces her to dance with him. While Slater talks to Mrs. Carrington, Gina hurries over to tell Slater that she has just met one of the men from the cable car (the unmasked one). They leave Mrs. Carrington to search for Max, but are told that he just left the party alone. Ends: 0:54:53

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31. 1:14 - Slater searches for Max outside, but Max has clearly left without a trace. Slater returns to the party and asks Gina for the guest list. A helpful butler informs Slater & Gina that he overheard Max tell the taxi driver that he wanted to be taken to the Bahmer Farm. Slater calls Wheatley who knows where the farm is and offers to come at once to pick him up. Ends: 0:56:07

32. 2:15 - In the VW van later on, Slater and Wheatley wonder what it is they are getting into by going to the Bahmer Farm just outside of town. Wheatley tells Slater why he got out of the spying game... to be a normal human being again, away from professional paranoia that turned everything ugly. They finally approach the farm and Slater tells Wheatley to drive up close without his lights. Wheatley offers to wait and Slater exits the van to investigate... he’ll be back in ten minutes.
Ends: 0:58:22

33. 1:13 - Slater approaches the quiet farm house alone from the unlit roadside... he scurries over to spy on any inside activity. Back at the vehicle, Wheatley quietly exits the VW van. Slater makes his way over to the front door and this is suddenly opened by a German-speaker who asks what it is he wants... Slater wants to talk to Max Gruner. He is invited into the farm and told to make himself comfortable. Ends: 0:59:35

34. 2:19 - Once inside, Slater is held at gunpoint by Max who appears out of the darkness. Slater is told by Max to remove his jacket... then everything else. While undressing, Slater whips one of the two men with his belt and begins fighting with Max. Eventually all three are fighting and eventually Slater is overcome... however, while kicking away Max’s handgun, one of the assailants accidentally causes a shot to ring out. Thus alerted, Wheatley (outside) gets back into the VW van and takes off (presumably to summon help). However, it’s not long before his instinct to flee is checked and he quickly returns to help. Slater is seen running out of the farmhouse and meets up with Wheatley... in fact, Slater nudges him aside and drives the VW van himself. Ends: 1:01:54

35. 0:54 - The two men talk while driving away from the farmhouse. Slater accuses Wheatley of having set him up. Wheatley wants to know what is going on... he blames Gina, saying it must have been her that set them up. Slater indicates he’s going back to talk to her and find out. Ends: 1:02:48

36. 1:52 - Mrs. Carrington’s party is breaking-up. Slater and Wheatley return and the butler offers to look for Gina. When she arrives, Slater tells her they have to talk. Needing somewhere quiet, she suggests her room (again) and says she’ll meet him there and disappears. When Slater goes upstairs, he’s confronted by several doors and doesn’t know which one is Gina’s. She eventually opens her door and he makes his way inside. Ends: 1:04:40

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37. 0:19 - Once inside Gina’s room, Slater hits her hard across the face. In fact, the two begin fighting and breaking stuff as he attacks her. She scratches him across the left-side of his face and now angered further, Slater twists her arm behind her back and throws her on the bed.
Ends: 1:05:19

38. 2:01 - Wheatley waits downstairs while upstairs, Gina asks Slater why he has attacked her. Slater tells her he doesn’t like being setup. Gina doesn’t understand what has possessed him and threatens to attack him with a lamp. She orders him to get out and Slater is unwilling to do so until Wheatley lets himself into the room and tries to make him see reason. The two men leave. Outside, Slater tells Wheatley that he’s going back to the farmhouse... but he wants to go there alone. Slater orders Wheatley to meet with Miller and for them to return to the farmhouse and join him. Ends: 1:07:20

39. 1:56 - Wheatley goes back up to Gina’s room. He’s not there to apologize to Gina because Slater wouldn’t want that - in Slater’s world, you don’t apologize. Frank reveals to Gina that the dead boy was Dan Slater’s son and that the death was no accident. In fact, Slater suspects everyone of having had a hand in the boy’s death. Wheatley asks Gina to try and forgive him (Wheatley) and leaves. Ends: 1:09:16

40. 5:49 Slater’s VW drives right up to the farmhouse... he gets out and enters the house but there’s nobody around, Slater makes his way up a staircase and walks over to one of several doors and opens it. It is dark inside but once he has entered, an unseen hand turns on an overhead bulb to reveal several men standing around... in the centre of which is a casually dressed other Dan Slater! The well-dressed Slater is the fake... he’s the one who attacked Gina... he’s the one who killed Bobby and he’s the one who will return to Washington with Miller to resume working at the CIA. The real Slater is bound and gagged and a ski mask is placed over his head... he is taken away to be killed. The fake Slater sits down and smokes a cigarette... and waits. Ends: 1:15:05

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41. 0:50 - Miller and Wheatley are in a taxi, speeding back to the farmhouse. Neither can understand what Slater is doing. Wheatley tells Miller that he is not armed. Ends: 1:15:55

42. 1:38 - The taxi arrives at the farmhouse. The driver is paid and leaves... the two men enter & quietly make their way through the house and find Slater sitting alone in the dark. He feigns waiting for the bad guys who haven’t turned up yet... Miller pulls a gun and tells Slater that he’s under orders by Edwards to escort him back to Washington DC. They will not wait for the bad guys. Ends: 1:17:33

43. 0:36 - When Wheatley, Miller and the fake Slater drive off, from a distance Berthold and his crew get into their car. They tell the masked (real) Slater that he’ll soon be dead and buried. Ends: 1:18:09

44. 2:09 - Miller drops off Wheatley at the school and the latter says his goodbyes to Slater. Meanwhile, Berthold and his gang drive the real Slater somewhere unspecified.. however, while driving through a town there’s the sound of music and the streets are filled with skiers. The driver honks his horn to disperse the obstacle of the crowd, but they’re too busy enjoying themselves. Slater seizes the opportunity to lunge forward and force the driver against the car horn... the noise of which seems to irritate the crowd enough to surround the car. One of the gang gets out to pacify the crowd and so now Slater has a second opportunity as only Berthold is now covering him with a gun. Slater elbows him in the face and escapes from the car, still bound at the wrists. Ends: 1:20:18

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45. 2:47 - The real Slater, masked and still bound, now plays hide & seek with his pursuers in the fading light. The village festivities continue around them, music blaring etc. The hunters get closer & closer, Slater finally deciding that his best chance will be to run across a snowy field and join the torch-lit procession. Half-way across the field, Slater is spotted by Berthold. Eventually, Slater makes it to the procession and is now safe among the crowds, who are festively walking en masse to the cable car station. Berthold blows his car horn and his colleagues run back to join him... by the time they drive to the cable car station where Mrs. Carrington is holding up some sort of award, Slater has arrived by foot with the revelers and makes his way inside. Berthold and others get their skis. Ends: 1:23:05

46. 1:25 - There’s a mad scramble by everybody to get into the cable car and be the first up the mountain. Slater gets on board, as do two of Berthold’s henchmen. Berthold himself doesn’t make it before the car is full and the doors are closed - through the glass, Berthold tells his men that he’ll meet them up there on the other side of the mountain. Over by Mrs. Carrington’s group, Gina stands looking at the cable car and her eyes widen when she spots Slater in the dark ski mask. Although she doesn’t know it to be Slater, it is evident that she recognizes the eyes as belonging to the exact same man who went up with Bobby on the day of his accident. Ends: 1:24:30

47. 0:57 - Gina flees from the cable car station... Mrs. Carrington is upset and demands to know where she’s going. When it is clear that Gina is leaving, Mrs. Carrington tells her that she’s needed there - if she insists on leaving, she need not return. Gina tells her that’s okay and leaves anyway... Gina then makes her way to the International School, where Anna opens the door and Gina asks to speak to Wheatley. Ends: 1:25:27

48. 1:51 - The revelers sing in the cable car as it ascends up the mountain. The masked Slater and his two pursuers can only stand and stare at each other at opposite ends of the crowded car. Once it arrives, Slater runs out of the car and his pursuers follow... Slater successfully hides and evades them. They eventually take the next cable car up to the top of the mountain. Slater comes out of hiding place but is too late to summon the attendant of the now empty car that heads back down the mountain. Ends: 1:27:18

49. 1:27 - Miller is in a restaurant and waits for a return call to Edwards. He joins the fake Slater who sits at a table smoking his cigarette. Miller is afraid that the bad guys will try something in the restaurant - however, Slater tells him that all will be fine. Just then Wheatley barges in with Gina in tow. Gina explains that she saw the masked man alone in the cable car tonight... Slater decides to abandon his trip to Washington DC and head back to the village. Miller threatens to pull his gun but Slater ignores him. Ends: 1:28:45

50. 3:00 - The two bad guys arrive at the top of the mountain and do not see Slater. They decide he must still be back at the middle station. Everyone is given flares and the villagers light them up and head down the mountain. From the middle station, the real Slater watches the torch procession approach his way. Two of the skiers with flares break away from the line and head towards him. Slater hides as the two arrive and begin to search the quiet middle station. Ends: 1:31:45

51. 0:35 - The fake Slater, Wheatley, Miller and Gina enter the cable car station at the base of the mountain. Excited voices are raised when it is evident that the torch-lit procession of skiers are now visible on their way down the mountain. The first skiers make their way past the finish line and the crowd in the station are ecstatic. Ends: 1:32:20

52. 1:26 - Back at the middle station, a masked Slater is still trying to hide from his hunters... however, he’s finding a lot of locked doors. Down the mountain, all the skiers are now past the finish-line and Gina didn’t see the masked man. Wheatley concludes that he must still be up the mountain. The fake Slater tells Miller that he’s going up to find him. Meanwhile, Mrs. Carrington awards her prize to the winner of the downhill race. Ends: 1:33:46

53. 3:05 - Slater is very close to being discovered. His pursuers are now in the kitchen where he’s hiding out. They’re almost on top of him when a loud noise is hear elsewhere - it is the sound of the cable car, which unbeknownst to them is actually arriving with Gina, Wheatley, Miller and the fake Slater. Suitably distracted, the two pursuers split up and one of them is attacked by the real Slater. The second gang member fires off a few shots, but Slater gets away. The cable car arrives and everyone gets out and takes cover when they see the body of the gang member lying outside of the restaurant.
Ends: 1:36:51

54. 0:58 - The fake Slater attracts the attention of the only surviving gang member in the middle station... he’s told that the real Slater is here, somewhere in the building, but before he can say much else the fake Slater shoots him from point-blank range... dead. When Miller goes to investigate, the fake Slater karate chops his across the back of the neck and renders him unconscious. Meanwhile, Wheatley and Gina haven’t seen any of this but move forward nevertheless. Wheatley picks up a gun from the fallen gang member and pushes Gina to one side, telling her to stay out of the way. Wheatley spots an unconscious Miller on the floor ahead of him. Ends: 1:37:49

55. 0:57 - The fake Slater speaks into the darkness, tells the real Slater that they cannot both exist. When Wheatley calls out to Dan Slater, he hears Slater’s voice beckoning him... fearing Wheatley will be killed, the real Slater comes out of hiding and attacks the fake Slater. Both begin to fight, the real Slater still in a ski mask and the fake Slater dressed smartly and donning a hat. They stuggle for control of the gun in the fake Slater’s hand. Shots are fired in the process; plates and other kitchen items are smashed in the struggle. Wheatley barges into the room where the men are fighting - he has his gun ready. The fake Slater tells him to shoot! The real Slater breaks free and fears being shot by Wheatley... so he runs away, but Gina trips him to the ground and rips off his ski mask! Ends: 1:38:46

56. 2:07 - Gina is in shock. So is Wheatley, who is conflicted about which Slater to believe. He holds both of them at gunpoint. The real Slater tells Wheatley the only thing to do is to shoot them both. The fake Slater tells him to shoot Bobby’s killer - he loved his son. Wheatley’s gun goes off! Ends: 1:40:53

57. 2:43 - At the train station, Slater stands with Miller by the restaurant. Not too far in the distance stands Berthold. A train goes by obscuring the view - once it passes, Berthold is no-longer there. Inside the restaurant, Slater stands staring out of the window. Miller brings them both a drink. As they finish up, Wheatley joins the men. Slater tells Wheatley that he was right - Dan Slater never loved a damn thing in his life. Miller and Slater enter their rail car. Now walking through the train corridor is Gina... Slater offers her a seat next to him. Ends: 1:43:36

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