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13 user 20 critic

Man on a Swing (1974)

A small-town police chief investigating a murder is offered help by a self-described psychic. However, when the chief discovers that the "psychic" is in possession of information known only... See full summary »

Director:

Frank Perry

Writer:

David Zelag Goodman (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Cliff Robertson ... Lee Tucker
Joel Grey ... Franklin Wills
Dorothy Tristan ... Janet Tucker
Elizabeth Wilson ... Dr. Anna Willson
George Voskovec ... Dr. Nicholas Holnar
Ron Weyand Ron Weyand ... Dr. Philip Fusco
Peter Masterson ... Willie Younger
Lane Smith ... Ted Ronan
Joe Ponazecki Joe Ponazecki ... Dan Lloyd
Christopher Allport ... Richie Tom Keating
Patricia Hawkins Patricia Hawkins ... Diana Spenser
Richard Venture Richard Venture ... Man in Motel
Dianne Hull ... Maggie Dawson
Gil Gerard ... Donald Forbes
Robert Dryden Robert Dryden ... Mr. Dawson
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Storyline

A small-town police chief investigating a murder is offered help by a self-described psychic. However, when the chief discovers that the "psychic" is in possession of information known only to the police, he suspects that the man may be more involved in the case than he lets on. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Clairvoyant. Occultist. Murderer. Which?


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 February 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Covjek na ljuljacki See more »

Filming Locations:

Milford, Connecticut, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Jaffilms Inc. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(TV movie)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joel Grey's first feature film after winning the Oscar for "Cabaret" (1972). See more »

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User Reviews

Haunting Sleeper
11 December 2012 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

Oddball mystery that I suspect is not for everyone. Joel Grey plays a psychic, Franklyn Wills, who wants to help the cops solve a gruesome parking lot murder. On their first meeting he establishes some credibility by knowing a number of details not mentioned in the media, thus provoking the curiosity of head cop Lee Tucker (Robertson). How, we wonder, does Wills know these details. Is he a real psychic or maybe even the killer himself just playing games with the cops. Thus begins a stormy collaboration between the head cop and the psychic, as Lee not only investigates the murder but has to figure out what's going on with Wills who keeps coming up with more interesting facts.

This is one of the more unsettling films I've seen, mainly because Wills' behavior is completely unpredictable when he goes into his sudden psychic trances. He may leap on a desk, roll on the floor, or go into jerky spasms no matter where he is. Grey is an elfin-like presence anyway, so these sudden seizures are truly disturbing, even scary. When not in a clairvoyant state, he's not what you'd suspect from a killer, all smiles and disarming demeanor, even when Lee throws him against a wall in utter frustration. All in all, Grey delivers a cunning performance, one of the most unusual I've seen. His Franklyn Wills remains truly an enigma.

In contrast, Robertson wisely low-keys his role, with a deadpan expression, soft voice, and unblinking stare as he observes the strange little man who seems in communication with something—but what. And when Lee and his wife start getting strange phone calls and knocks on the door, everyone figure it's got to be Wills, but why. What could he hope to gain. His behavior seems beyond strange.

In a sense, the movie dwells almost obsessively with the relationship between these two. There are no real subplots or principal characters apart from them. Thus, it's two hours of trying to figure out whether Wills is a true psychic or not. The fact that the film is based on a true story makes the mystery even more intriguing. I suspect many folks are put off by the morbid undertones of the unvarying plot, and that plus an unconventional ending may have something to do with the film's obscurity. Nonetheless, for some folks, like me, it's a fascinating sleeper, with its own style of intrigue, and continues to cast a haunting spell.


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