TITLE: The Medusa Touch
YEAR RELEASED: 1978
DIRECTOR: Jack Gold
CAST: Richard Burton, Lino Ventura, Lee Remick, Harry Andrews, Derek Jacobi
REVIEW BY SIMON BALL
When author John Morlar (Richard Burton) is battered to death in his apartment, French exchange copper Inspector Brunel (Lino Ventura) is shocked when the corpse stages a remarkable recovery. Morlar is rushed to the nearest intensive care unit while Brunel attempts to reconstruct his story from Morlar’s journal.
From clues in the journal and interviews with Morlar’s psychiatrist Dr Zonfield (Lee Remick) and publisher (Derek Jacobi) Brunel discovers the terrible truth that Morlar had the ability to control events using his mind from killing his parents to the recent crash of a 747 into a tower block. What’s more from his hospital bed, Morlor is planning to bring down the roof of London’s Minster Cathedral on top of the Queen and assembled heads of the commonwealth. So its up to Brunel to save the day.
The Medusa Touch gave Burton’s career a bit of a lift after a number of frankly underwhelming film roles taken to pay off the debts incurred by his second failed marriage to Liz Taylor and his battle with the bottle. Temporarily sober for the duration of filming Burton totally owns every scene he is in.
There’s also a fine supporting cast of familiar British actors including Michael Horden, Gordon Jackson and a pre Sherlock Holmes Jeremy Brett.
The dialogue is intelligent with plenty of meaty lines for Burton to get his teeth into, the cinematography is beautiful with nice location work and the editing is crisp.
The downpoint is the infamous plane crash into the tower block where the obvious model work looks as if it has come out of a Gerry Anderson Supermarionation show.