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Maximus, a small-time music hall mind reader, has frightening flashes of precognition; but he cannot predict or control them ...until he realizes he has them in the presence of Christine, attractive daughter of a publisher, who makes Rene, his equally lovely wife, wretchedly jealous. But worse trouble comes to Maximus when he's accused of causing a disaster he predicted. Written by
Rod Crawford <email@example.com>
"The Clairvoyant", also known as "The Evil Mind", is a far-fetched but interesting story, which works primarily because of Claude Rains' excellent acting in his role as a phony music-hall psychic who suddenly discovers that he has genuine psychic powers whenever a particular woman is nearby.
Rains was one of the finest actors of his era, and was at his best in playing complex, multi-faceted characters. In "The Clairvoyant", his character must struggle both to understand the nature of the unexpected ability that he has discovered, and also to handle the complications that it produces in his life and marriage, since the woman whose presence grants him real extra-sensory ability is not his wife.
The concept itself is an interesting premise, although quite implausible. It preserves some believability that no convoluted attempt is ever made to explain just why the psychic gift worked as it did - the film concentrates instead on the gift's consequences. The rest of the film works as well as it does because of Rains and also because of good work by Fay Wray and Jane Baxter as the women in his life.
There is a good suspense climax and an amusing final scene.
The writing is also good. The screen version was written by Charles Bennett, who is better known for writing the screen adaptations for several of Alfred Hitchcock's finest movies, including "The 39 Steps", "Foreign Correspondent", and both versions of "The Man Who Knew Too Much".
"The Clairvoyant" will definitely appeal to any fan of Rains, and it is a short, fast-moving picture that should also provide good light entertainment to who anyone who enjoys vintage cinema.
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