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The Medusa Touch (1978)

PG | | Horror, Sci-Fi | 1978 (UK)
Psychological thriller about a novelist, a telekinetic, who causes disasters simply by thinking about them.



(screenplay), (novel)

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1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Assistant Commissioner
Quinton - Barrister
Patricia Morlar
Edward Parrish
Altropos - Fortune Teller
Sergeant Duff
Moulton - John's publisher
Avril Elgar ...
Mrs. Pennington
Mr. Copley - John's schoolmaster
Judge McKinley


John Morlar is watching the British television broadcast when an anchorman states that American astronauts are trapped in orbit around the moon. Suddenly someone in Morlar's room picks up a figurine and strikes him on the head repeatedly. His blood splatters the television screen. A French police inspector, Brunel, arrives at Morlar's apartment to begin an investigation. At first he thinks Morlar is dead, but soon he hears him breathe. At the hospital, Morlar is hooked up to life support systems, one machine in particular monitors the activity of his battered brain. Brunel discovers that Morlar has been in psychological analysis because of his history of being witness to many disasters, other people's disasters. Dr. Zonfeld, Morlar's analyst, explains that Morlar's delusions had begun when he was a child. He believed that he had caused a hated nanny's death. Morlar's childhood delusions were reinforced at a resort when he overheard his parents discussing him with disapproval. When his... Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Richard Burton is the man with the medusa touch ... he has the power to create catastrophe.


Horror | Sci-Fi


PG | See all certifications »





Release Date:

1978 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

O Toque da Medusa  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


(Technicolor) (as Technicolor®)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film was made two years after its source novel of the same name by Peter Van Greenaway had been first published in 1975. The movie is the only ever theatrical feature film adaptation of one of Greenaway's books. See more »


When passing the 747 wreckage in the street, a thrust vector nozzle from a Harrier Jump Jet is prominent. See more »


John Morlar: I will bring the whole edifice down on their unworthy heads
See more »


Referenced in Chronicle (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

Lino Ventura (Inspector Brunel) GREAT!
20 July 2011 | by See all my reviews

'The Medusa Touch' fits as one of those films that certainly deserves to be called a masterpiece that became a well kept secret. If you are a fan of the genre and haven't seen it, what a rare find it is! Contributors to threads of a remake of this film are filled with screams against that idea. And deservedly so. Any attempt to remake this classic would be a travesty.

Richard Burton's excellent performance, and surly the role fits Burton's acting style like a well tailored glove. Casting him as an intelligent and well versed author, whose spoken (and written) dialog is scripted to delve deep into a profound command of the English language, is right up Burton's alley. I see much written here about Burton's outstanding performance and they are certainly correct.

It almost seems an oversight however, that the performance given by Lino Ventura (Inspector Brunel) is as fine a work of acting as can be. Officially a 'supporting actor' in the film, one could hardly tell. Cast as a French Exchange Detective who has a suspicious, slightly non-trusting relationship with his English Scotland Yard counterparts, Ventura turns in a nearly flawless role, and makes the idea work exquisitely.

Often while deep in puzzled thought and shock, mere facial expressions from Inspector Brunel are perfect additions to Ventura's role. To many thread do not topic Lino Ventura's excellent acting in this outstanding classic gem of a thriller. Perhaps due to many fans in the English speaking world never having heard of Lino Ventura, and figuring he was a 'small-fame' actor. Nothing could be further from the truth. Ventura was Italian citizenship and birth, while living the majority of his life in France.

Ventura was a hugely acclaimed and decorated actor in France, who played some iconic roles there. Casting Lino Ventura in this film was no stretch, as his timeless performance attests. The filmmakers were fortunate to land him. In many ways, Ventura's performance helped mold this movie into the hidden classic 'The Medusa Touch' will forever be.

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