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jaragon

The Medusa Touch (1978)

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 Richard Burton ( who must have really needed the money) plays John Molar a middle age psychic with "a talent for disaster". His head is smashed in the opening scene but he manages to survive. Brunel (Lino Ventura) a French detective seeks Molar's killer with the help of psychiatrist Lee Remick. Brunel enters flashback land were he meets among other people a young Derek Jacobi. There is a lot of running around but very little suspense .  The climax takes place in a cathedral which Molar threatened to destroy even though it's quite obviously already falling apart- so of course the decide to host a mass and invite the queen.  This boring movie fails as both horror and disaster film.

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53 minutes ago, jaragon said:

 Richard Burton ( who must have really needed the money) plays John Molar a middle age psychic with "a talent for disaster". His head is smashed in the opening scene but he manages to survive. Brunel (Lino Ventura) a French detective seeks Molar's killer with the help of psychiatrist Lee Remick. Brunel enters flashback land were he meets among other people a young Derek Jacobi. There is a lot of running around but very little suspense .  The climax takes place in a cathedral which Molar threatened to destroy even though it's quite obviously already falling apart- so of course the decide to host a mass and invite the queen.  This boring movie fails as both horror and disaster film.

I haven't seen this movie in ages. I remember it was very disappointing despite a good cast.

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I agree its a very awkward movie; but there are some genuinely disturbing moments. Especially where Burton's character reveals that as a child, he accidentally slayed his own parents by accidentally wishing them off a cliff. I'm not a fan of this film but I will stick up for it. To a certain small extent, that is.

See,  Burton is not just a psychic but possesses some kind of telekinesis like Stephen King's "Carrie". His growing awareness that he can cause massive destruction "just by thinking about it", is a theme explored in many other books and movies. Usually better examples than this picture, I admit. I'm just saying that the story content alone, is no reason to fault the project.

As far as the acting goes: Burton's brooding is decently effective as he turns from a normal, sane, well-adjusted individual (a man who worries about harming others by his acts) ...into a malevolent madman who wants to wreak havoc. There's no romance of course, Lee Remick is wasted as Burton's character is soon in a tailspin.

Yes, the plot winds up at Westminster Cathedral. But what of it? It's as good as any. Westminster by the way, is not just a 'church already falling down' ...it is a place where the Queen might visit on occasion. Its of the most hallowed landmarks of British society.

But okay yeah, he obviously fails to destroy it and thus the climax is rather a dud. I agree.

But earlier in the film --get this--he decides to send a jet plane crashing into a skyscraper. Is that not enough action for anyone? And this film was what year?

Here's the 1973 thriller novel from which the movie was adapted. Peter Greenaway, author. Look at that cover art.

Medusatouchcover.jpg

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7 hours ago, Sgt_Markoff said:

I agree its a very awkward movie; but there are some genuinely disturbing moments. Especially where Burton's character reveals that as a child, he accidentally slayed his own parents by accidentally wishing them off a cliff. I'm not a fan of this film but I will stick up for it. To a certain small extent, that is.

See,  Burton is not just a psychic but possesses some kind of telekinesis like Stephen King's "Carrie". His growing awareness that he can cause massive destruction "just by thinking about it", is a theme explored in many other books and movies. Usually better examples than this picture, I admit. I'm just saying that the story content alone, is no reason to fault the project.

As far as the acting goes: Burton's brooding is decently effective as he turns from a normal, sane, well-adjusted individual (a man who worries about harming others by his acts) ...into a malevolent madman who wants to wreak havoc. There's no romance of course, Lee Remick is wasted as Burton's character is soon in a tailspin.

Yes, the plot winds up at Westminster Cathedral. But what of it? It's as good as any. Westminster by the way, is not just a 'church already falling down' ...it is a place where the Queen might visit on occasion. Its of the most hallowed landmarks of British society.

But okay yeah, he obviously fails to destroy it and thus the climax is rather a dud. I agree.

But earlier in the film --get this--he decides to send a jet plane crashing into a skyscraper. Is that not enough action for anyone? And this film was what year?

Here's the 1973 thriller novel from which the movie was adapted. Peter Greenaway, author. Look at that cover art.

Medusatouchcover.jpg

The problem I have with the movie is the script- it's obvious Molar can wish people to death- but his transformation from unwilling killer to psycho mass murder is not convincing. Burton should have played the detective and they should have gotten Anthony Perkins for the lead.  Lee Remick looks pretty is wasted- in the book her character was a man.  The church climax is well staged and some of the miniature work is effective- but why did Molar want to kill the Queen?  This is another problem I have with the story- is Molar just evil or crazy and what drive him to use his powers for disaster? There is something missing- the director also doesn't have a talent for staging death scenes- the killings are pretty dull.

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Fair enough. Yep its overall poorly done and Burton's lack of a truly coherent transformation (in the script) is the biggest single problem. But I think his acting is adequate/fine here in the role, this is my point. He was a pro.

Oh well. Let's hope he got a big fee. Remember, he soon went on to do the kick-butt 'Wild Geese'!

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