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  Amazing World of Psychic Phenomena, The Mind How You GoBuy this film here.
Year: 1976
Director: Robert Guenette
Stars: Raymond Burr, Jeane Dixon, Uri Geller, Linda Gray, Kathryn Grayson, Peter Hurkos, Stanley Krippner, Edgar D. Mitchell, Ted Serios
Genre: Documentary
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Raymond Burr is being quizzed by a doctor about some footage they are watching. Which woman is this child's mother? And which of these handgliding men is flying for the first time? Raymond gets one question right, and explains to us in the audience that this is about normal, and also that most of us are psychic to one degree or another. The more psychic you are, the more likely you are to answer such questions correctly, but sometimes such perceptions occur once in a lifetime. Let Raymond reveal all...

The Amazing World of Psychic Phenomena was brought to you by the good people at Sunn Classics, an outfit who specialised in unleashing "true life" weirdness documentaries on the world, and this was typical of their output. Simply assemble a collection of footage on such events, film a few reconstructions then make some up for good measure, edit them all together and they were laughing all the way to the bank. Needless to say, a certain gullibility was a prerequisite for enjoying these things.

In fact, the Sunn Classics documentaries were a double edged sword for those interested in strange phenomena. They took most of their weirdness at face value to make for a more sensationalist experience, and the way they blithely made up cases to keep the viewer agog didn't help much. For example, two of the reconstructions feature recognisable actresses: first, singing star of the 1950s Kathryn Grayson appears as a psychic detective tracking down a murderer, which looks like a TV episode of something.

Secondly, Linda Gray, aka Sue Ellen of Dallas fame, appears as a housewife who had a nasty brush with the unknown when she heard unsettling noises from her basement. We see her and her onscreen son growing ever more terrified as the noises increase in volume, then the light goes out, she makes a grab for the telephone and - er, that's it. Completely fictional, and just there to keep you on the edge of your seat. Showmanship was apparently the name of the game here.

Of the real life footage, naturally that seventies superstar Uri Geller turns up, bending cutlery (as ever, he points out the fork he has broken has not been heated up) and changing the direction of a compass: parlour tricks really, but he made a lot of money out of them. Psychics Jeane Dixon and Peter Hurkos appear to trumpet their self-proclaimed abilities (we have to take the predictions that came true as read, as there's no proof offered) and even though he didn't, Harry Houdini is claimed to have sent a message from beyond the grave. It's easy to make fun of these films, but the truth is they were intended to put the wind up you and not be held up to close examination and on that level they're amusing enough. Music by Bob Summers.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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