Maximus (Claude Rains) and his wife Rene (Fay Wray) are touring various English music halls with their new mind reading act. Billed as “King of the Mind Readers” Max stands on stage blindfolded while Rene wanders through the audience holding up objects for Max to identify. A predetermined code tells Max what each object is.
One evening things go a bit awry. Rene gets locked out of the theater while Max is on stage waiting for her, still blindfolded. When he trips over a small table the audience begins to laugh. Max pulls off his blindfold and sees a young woman in the audience staring at him. As Christine Shawn (Jane Baxter) and Max make eye contact something comes over Max. In a trance, he tells a man in the audience that he has a letter. He tells the man what’s in the letter and warns him that his wife’s health has gotten worse. The man rushes out of the theater.
Brushing the incident off Max, Rene, Max’s mother (Mary Clare) and his father Simon (Ben Field) are on a train heading to their next gig when Christine walks by. Suddenly Max sees the train crash. He pulls the emergency cord. Of course no one believes him when he relays his vision. Max hustles off the train with his wife and parents. Christine also gets off the train believing Max really did see something. When the train crashes Christine calls her father Lord Southwood (Athole Stewart), who happens to be the owner of The Daily Sun newspaper. When the story is published Max becomes famous.
Eventually Rene realizes that Max’s power only works when Christine is near. Rene is not happy about this. She begins to get jealous of Christine. Max’s mother believes that Max’s gift is really a curse. One day Christine comes to visit. When a page delivering a message asks Max for the winner of The Derby Max offhandedly gives the Page the name of the winner.
When his prediction comes true things begin to come to a head in his marriage. Christine is falling in love with him and Rene decides to leave the marriage. When Max sees the death of his own mother and ignores it her actually death hits him hard. Rene stays in the marriage but things are still rocky. Max is at a crossroads on whether to abandon his gift or try to save his marriage.
When Max has the vision of a tunnel disaster he tries to appeal to the managers and workers to stop work. Eventually the supervisors talk the workers into going back into the shaft. When the disaster he foretold comes true Max finds himself being blamed for it because he caused the miners to be nervous and upset thereby making a mistake and causing the explosion. Max finds himself on trial for the death of hundreds of tunnel workers.
“The Clairvoyant” AKA “The Evil Mind” was released in 1935 and was directed by Maurice Elvey. It is a British production. The film has been labeled a horror, mystery or a drama. It’s all of those and a supernatural thriller added in.
The most epic portion of the film is actually stock footage. The stock footage showing the construction and collapse of the Humber Shaft is taken from director Curtis Bernhardt's disaster movie "Le Tunnel" 1933.
I’m not sure how I felt about the movie. It’s capable enough. The acting is good, especially Fay Wray. She was exceptional. There were little moments of interest but altogether it was more drama than thriller. The story was also decent. I felt it was a little predictable but others may not think so. The movie was good; I was just expecting something a little more unnerving.