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The Man Who Saw Tomorrow (1981)
Ensconced in an elegant drawing room -- furnished handsomely with books, hourglasses, a grandfather clock and a telescope -- celebrated Nostradamus scholar Orson Welles guides us through a detailed examination of the 16th century physician-turned-prophet's visions of the future.
Nestled next to a crackling fireplace, cigar in hand, Mr. Welles informally recounts Nostradamus' early life and exploits (he developed an effective treatment for the plague), analyzes the prophecies which have already come to pass (the French Revolution; assassinations of world leaders; pasteurization; and the development of the submarine and all manner of flying contraptions, from the hot air balloon to modern spacecraft), and postulates on events still to come.
Mr. Welles' erudite narration is nicely complemented by historical footage and tasteful reenactments. The smoke from our host's ever-present cigar lends a dignified air of mystery which frames the film well.
Much attention is paid to Nostradamus' concept of the Antichrist: Napoleon and Adolf Hitler, both Antichrists, and a third whom the seer referred to in his quatrains as "Mabus." Mabus has yet to be definitively identified; he could be a mighty world leader or an obscure subversive. (Some have even suggested that Mabus could be the name of a powerful weapon or bomb.)
With Mr. Welles' unexpected death in 1985, we lost one of our most impassioned Mabus hunters. In the days that followed, as the world mourned and came to grips with its loss, sadness and confusion gave way to suspicion and conspiracy. Today, twenty years later, the same question is still on everybody's mind: Did this Mabus contrive to eliminate Mr. Welles before he could unmask Nostradamus' dreaded third Antichrist? It seems Charles Foster Kane has taken another secret with him to the grave.