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The Psychic (1977) - Plot Summary Poster

(1977)

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Summaries

  • A clairvoyant woman, inspired by a vision, smashes open a section of wall in her husband's home and finds a skeleton behind it. Along with her psychiatrist, she seeks to find the truth about who the person was and who put her there. Soon enough, she starts to realize the possibility that she may share the victim's fate...

  • In 1959, in Florence, the girl Virginia sees her mother committing suicide jumping off a cliff in England. Twenty-eight years later, Virginia Ducci is married with the wealthy Francesco Ducci. Out of the blue, Virginia has a vision of a walled dead woman and when he goes to his house in Italy, she sees the wall of her vision. She opens a hole in the wall and finds a skeleton inside. When her husband returns from London, he is arrested and becomes the prime-suspect since the woman was his lover. Virginia discusses the subject with her psychiatrist and friend Luca Fattori. They find differences between her vision and the location where the skeleton was found and Luca suspects that she might have had a premonition. Virginia decides to investigate the case to find evidences to prove the innocence of Francesco and she suspects that a man called Emilio Rospini is the killer. When Francesco is released from jail, she becomes obsessed to find the truth and does not stop to snoop around. What will happen to her?


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Synopsis

  • Dover, England, October 12, 1959, 11:45 AM. A distraught young woman (Elizabeth Turner) drives to a scenic cliff-top overlooking the English Channel and throws herself off. At exactly the same time in Florence, Italy, the woman's young daughter Virginia (Fausta Avelli) has a vision of her mother's gruesome fall.

    Italy, 1976. A grown-up Virginia Ducci (Jennifer O'Neill) happily bids farewell to her new husband Francesco (Gianni Garko) as he leaves their house for a business trip abroad. After dropping him off at a small airport and driving home, Virginia experiences a number of confusing, fragmented visions while driving through dark road tunnel; a broken mirror in a dimly lit room; a lamp; a yellow cigarette burning in an ashtray; a magazine with a young woman on the front cover; a stuffed bird; the blood soaked corpse of an old lady; a fresco of The Madonna and Child; the footfalls of a man with a limp; a blinking red light; a yellow taxi; and someone being walled up in a dark hole.

    Virginia turns to her friend Dr Luca Fattori (Marc Porel), who has an interest in the paranormal, and she describes to him what she has seen. Afterwards, Virginia drives over to a rambling villa owned by her husband. The recently married couple intend to redecorate and move into the dusty building, which Francesco hasn't used for four years. Alone, Virginia experiences a mounting unease as she removes the drapes of the living room to discover items from her vision. Recalling a hole in the wall, the finds traces of a plaster over recess, and attacks with a pickaxe and uncovers skeletal human remains.

    The police are curious as to how Virginia found the body, which was very well concealed. She describes her vision to them, but they remain skeptic. The police maintain that the dead person was a young woman killed between January and June 1972, and she was only 25 years old when she died. Back at the villa that evening, Virginia sees what she takes to be an apparision of the dead woman from her vision (Veronica Michielini) standing outside. When Virginia gives chase, the old woman runs away into the dark. Francesco returns from his business trip where Virginia updates him on everything that has happened. He urges her to dismiss the matter from her mind, but she instead grows more and more obsessed with learning this mystery.

    The police led by Commissioner D'Elia investigate further and they identify the entombed victim as Agneta Bignardi. Virginia recognizes her from a photograph; she's the girl on the cover of the magazine in Virginias vision. Francesco, already a suspect, can only provide an alibi for himself in half the possible murder period. After he admits that he did have an affair with Agenta back in 1972, he gets arrested.

    Virginia discusses the case with Francesco's sister Gloria (Evelyn Stewart), and Melli (Riccardo Parisio Perrotti), a lawyer friend of Glorias. Virginia notices that Gloria smokes distinctive yellow cigarettes which are a French brand called Gitanes, identical to the one in her vision. Virginia accepts an extra pack from Virginia to smoke, and the two women go to the old house to investigate. Gloria says that her brother left for a business trip to America in April 1972, and that she was the one who changed the furniture of the place. The room with the walled-in corpse had been Franceso's bedroom, but was the Gloria whod bought the furniture that Virginia saw in her vision, after Francesco's departure.

    Luca's secretary, the resourceful Bruna (Jenny Tamburi) discovers that there were only 16 yellow taxies operating in Rome in 1972. Luca and Virgina make contact with a driver (Francesgo Angrisano) who remembers taking a girl in the police photo to a picture gallery, and that her gentlemanly chaperone has a pronounced limp. At the gallery, Virginia recognizes a Vermeer painting from her vision. The superintendent of the gallery, Emilio Rospini (Gabriele Ferzetti) watches them as the leave. He is the man in Virginia's vision.

    A few days later, Virginia buys a magazine which runs a picture of the murdered woman on the front cover, the exact same magazine from Virginia's vision. When Luca notices that the magazine has only existed for a year, it becomes apparent to him that Virginia has experienced a premontion, not a vision of past crimes. Virginia and Luca find more evidence that appears to clear Francesco, allowing him to get released on bail. Gloria, in the meantime, gives Virginia a watch, one that plays a haunting tune on the hour.

    Details from the promotions start to occur in front of Virginia with greater and greater frequency. Virginia takes a yellow taxi, with a blinking CB radio light, from Luca's office to her home. The mysterious old woman calls Virginia, leaving a message on her answering machine, offering information about the case. When Virginia arrives at her house, she finds her dead (in the same position from Virginia's vision). Rospini appears and Virginia flees in panic. Grabbing a vital letter featured on a coffee table in her vision, Virginia escapes down the road to a neighboring church that is undergoing repairs. Virginias hiding place is given away when her wristwatch chimes go off. Rospini tries to reach her on a wooden scaffold, but slips and falls to the marble floor, many feet below.

    Virginia runs back to her husband's old villa nearby, and phones him at his office to come see her right away. When he arrives, Virginia is alarmed by his limp, which he claims to have twisted his ankle just a few hours before. They go inside to the fateful room. Francesco puts down a copy of the magazine with Agneta on the cover, right on the table as described in the vision. Growing more nervous, Virginia starts smoking one of Glorias yellow cigarettes, and places it in an ashtray also featured in the vision.

    At the hospital, the police talk to the badly injured Rospini, who can barely gasp out his explination of the events. Back in 1972, the old woman, Signora Casati, had an illicit buyer for a valuable painting in a nearby gallery. Francesco, Rospini and Agneta Bignardi had all bee involved in stealing it. Rospini killed a guard, a fact mentioned in a letter Agneta wrote to Casati. Rospini was not trying to kill Virginia, but only trying to retrieve the letter. Casati was already dead when he arrived, having been killed by Francesco, who sustained a twisted ankle after jumping out of a window. It was Francesco who murdered Agneta all those years ago after she enraged him by trying to make off with the painting alone.

    Alone with her husband, Virginia becomes more and more frightened by the gradual confluences of elements from her vision. The last crucial link in the chain occurs when Francesco sees the incriminating letter on the dresser. Virginia claims that she hasn't read it, but he refuses to believe her. He suddenly attacks his wife with a fireplace poker. His first blow misses as she ducks and it smashes a mirror. The next blow strikes her dead on the head. As she lies on the floor, bleeding profuesly, he prepares to wall her into the excavated hole in the wall. Finally, all the details of room fit with the vision: Virginia was foreseeing her own death.

    A little later, Luca figures out from the magazine cover about the real location and time which Francesco could have murdered Agneta Bignardi. He then races over to the Ducci villa, while being chased by two motorcycle cops who are trying to arrest him for speeding. He manages to keep their fingers off his collar long enough to elaborate his suspicions. Francesco invites them all into his house and into the room, expressing concern at his wife's dissapearance. Despite a war of nerves, Luca cannot break the sociopath Francesco's bland of self control. As Luca turns to leave, escorted by the police, everyone hears a haunting tune, like a music box chime, emerging from the wall....

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