Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Psychic (1977)

The Psychic has been a film that I've heard about for many years, but I was patient and waited until there was a good release out. Severin finally released it, and I wasn't disappointed.

Jennifer O'Neill plays Virginia Ducci, a British woman who recently married an Italian, Emilio Rospini (Gabriele Ferzetti). She moves to Italy and decides to renovate her new family's house, a house that stood abandoned for many years. On the way there, she suddenly gets a vision - something she has been plagued by throughout her life. When she arrives at the house she realizes that the visions belongs to that place, and that it might also be a clue to murder - and murderer!

The police are skeptical of her visions, but everything points toward that her husband is the killer. He had had an affair with the victim and was also the one who had access to the house. Virginia is forced to take on the mystery, along with friends and family - including her husband's sister Gloria (Ida Galli) and a nice police, Luca Fattori (Marc Porel), and figuring out what the visions means, and who the killer is...

Perhaps the most complex Fulci film I've seen, and incredibly beautiful. The cinematography is by master Sergio Salvati and the music is composed by Fabio Frizzi. This, combined with a very sophisticated and thoughtful script, echoes the classic giallo - but also travels far away from the typical giallo clichés. This is more a psychological thriller, a pusselbox of clues and interpretations.

What struck me was that Fulci got some great acting from his actor this time, something like a more recognized director Argento never succeed in (and he probably is not even interested in it either). Although the classic Italian style of acting sometimes shines through, it feels as if everyone has become infected by Jennifer O'Neill's low-key approach to her character. 

As usual Fulci focus on eyes, faces, small body movements ... and of course blood and shocks! Not that the film is particularly bloody, but there is no room for such a thing in this story. Not very much anyway, even if the blood flows in at least two sequences. It is also worth mentioning that the English dubbing is a lot better than usual. For example, the Italian characters has an Italian accent and Jennifer dubs her own voice. It feels realistic and never breaks the illusion - even if bad dubbing hardly is disturbing for someone who is familiar with it. 

The Psychic is a original, beautiful and unique thriller. The original title, directly translated is "Seven Notes in Black is also a logic in itself that you do not understand if you do not think after a while. Subtle and good. 

See it.


Pauline M said...

I am sure I came across info aboyt a bollywood musical remake of the psychic, that is one I need to track down at some point!

Phantom of Pulp said...

I like this film quite a bit, too, and found Jennifer O. to be very sensual.

CiNEZiLLA said...

@Dixon. Yeah it's a great movie and that soundtrack is amazing.

@ Nigel, Yeah there is a Bollywood movie that is reminiscent of The Psychic, but probably more an Indian take on the Poe source with a dash of baghra beat.

it's a funny old world isn't it.