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 is directed by Maurice Elvey and adapted to the screen by Charles Bennett and Bryan Edgar Wallace from the novel written by Ernst Lothar. It stars Claude Rains, Fay Wray and Jane Baxter.
Maximus: King of the Mind Readers.
Out of Gaumont British and Gainsborough Pictures, The Clairvoyant is a compact 80 minute picture that tells of a bogus clairvoyant played by Rains who suddenly finds he does in fact have the gift. However, it's a gift he can only bring out when he is in the presence of a woman named Christine (Baxter), something which greatly unsettles his marriage to Rene (Wray). Film is structured in two wholesome parts, the first finds Maximus and Rene bluffing their way on the entertainment circuit, with Maximus then finding the gift and predicting events that really occur, both good and bad. Then the film greatly shifts in tone to play out as the gift being a curse, Maximus' private life comes under great strain and a turn of events see him come under snarling scrutiny by his peers. The seamless shifts from moody to jovial and back again is a credit to the makers, with Rains turning in a powerful performance in one of the last British films he made before heading to America and the big studio contract.
It will not surprise with the ending, and the running time means that some interesting themes are not fully born out and expanded upon. But it's very well performed across the board and has genuine moments of tension and horror once the jovial atmosphere dissipates. 7/10
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