***SPOILER ALERT*** Starts off as your average run-of-the-mill psychic helping the police solve a crime flick to later becoming something totally different. Something so strange and baffling that the local police chief Capt. Tucker, Cliff Robertson, starts to wonder if he's not the one who needs some kind of psychiatric therapy. Not the person he later suspects in Maggie Dawson's, Dianne Hull, murder self-confessed super psychic Franklin Wills, Joel Gray.
After teacher Maggie Dawson was found murdered in her Volkswagen in a Laural shopping mall parking lot it became apparent that the killer covered his tracks very carefully. Leaving no fingerprints and having no one, in broad daylight, see him the case begins to run cold until out of nowhere Franklin Wills suddenly comes on the scene.
Knowing things about Maggie Dawson's murder that only her killer and the police know Wills is taken seriously by Chief Tucker even though he really didn't, or up until then, gave as much as a rat's a** about the occult or clairvoyance that Wills' obviously has. Given all the leeway he needs by Chief Tucker Wills slowly uncovers more and more of the missing pieces of Maggie Dawson's murder. Wills is so good in his ability to track down the clues about what happened to Maggie that fateful afternoon at the Laural Mall that Chief Tucker starts to suspects that maybe, just maybe, he's, Franklin Wills, the person who murdered her!
The first half of the movie "Man on a Swing" is pure gold in it's buildup to what Franklin Wills is all about and what exactly he knows about Maggie Dawson's, and later in the film Virginia Segretta, murder. You get the impression, just like Chief Tucker, that Wills is the real deal not some phony trying to make both a name and money for himself masquerading around as a crime solving psychic. It's the last half of the movie that really gets a bit overindulgent in trying to cover all the bases, instead of tracking down Wills' very accurate clues, in finding out if in fact Franklin Wills is really the real McCoy that he claims he is.
Wills himself is anything but normal in his actions like going into spasmodic fits while putting himself under self-hypnosis, to find out who Maggie's killer is, but hell he's been right all along so why complain? We have Chief Tucker go so far as to almost kill Wills when he's wife Janet, Dorothy Tristan, felt that he was somehow threatening both her as well as his life.
Admittely Wills is somewhat off the wall and even a bit dangerous in his demanding that Janet accept his handkerchief to the point where she became terrified of him. It was as if Wills felt insulted or hurt by Janet in not accepting his gift! Still Wills' never goes so far as even laying a hand or even finger, with the exception of Chief Tucker in showing him how Maggie was strangled to death, on anyone but himself in the movie.
*****SPOILER ALERT****The film ends on a sour note with the audience as well as Chief Tucker not really finding out if Wills is real or not in his ability to mentally solve crimes. We can only guess, like Chief Tucker,that Wills is really on to something in his crime solving methods but what that is anybodies guess. All we get from Wills, who's predictions in the movie were dead on, is a sinister grin in that he knows something that we don't know as the movie suddenly comes to an end!
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