Friday, 2 November 2012
Creator Of Catastrophe
'The Medusa Touch' is a hilarious film about a sociopath who, unfortunately for the world, has limitless psychic powers. John Marlar (Richard Burton, awful) is a hugely bitter and angry person with a nasty habit of righting petty wrongs against him by using his mad telekinesis skills. He knocks his parents off a cliff with a runaway car, burns his school to the ground because he gets detention and, when he grows up, graduates to messing up space missions, crashing planes into tower blocks and making rubber rocks fall on people. Even when he has his head caved in with a bust of Napoleon he keeps going. Can anyone stop him? No. No, they can't. Even when clinically dead he blows up Windscale power station. He really is 'Le Grand Menace', as the French would have it. The Italians wouldn't even hang around long enough to give him a name.
The film is a real kedgeree of slumming talent - Lee Remick and the almost unintelligible Lino Ventura have the biggest supporting roles, and loads of other venerables pop up for a couple of scenes, including Harry Andrews, Norman Bird, Gordon Jackson, Jeremy Brett, Alan Badel, Michael Hordern, Robert Flemyng and Derek Jacobi. The star, of course, is Burton. Looking shorter, iller and older than ever, Burton prowls and scowls around in a brown cardigan, using his incredible voice to stretch out every syllable of the over-written dialogue he gets to spout. In a line that must have caused several film producers and directors to shake their heads ruefully, Burton declaims 'I am the man with the power to create catastrophe' - too fucking right, mate.
There is a chance that Osama Bin Laden may have watched this film and got the idea for 9/11, which is rather chilling - either that or he was inspired by that episode of 'Only Fools & Horses' where Del Boy installs a satellite dish stolen from Gatwick Airport and a 747 nearly crashes into Nelson Mandela House.