Murder by Natural Causes (1979)

TV Movie   |    |  Crime, Drama, Mystery

Murder by Natural Causes (1979) Poster

Allison, the unfaithful wife of a famous mentalist with a heart problem, wants her lover to try to kill her husband by scaring him to death, but the whole thing goes downhill.


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1 win.

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13 October 2019 | AlsExGal
| Ah, the cynical 70s
This film just tears all of your preconceived notions about all that is sacred into tiny confetti. Hal Holbrook is a mentalist with a bad heart who is rolling in dough currently. He admits - privately - that he doesn't truly read minds and that it is all a clever trick, but he says the people have a void where religion once was and his act helps fill that void, thus his recent success. He works with "tells" he sees in the subject's behavior or conversation along with information he gleans from investigators so that he appears to be psychic. Katherine Ross is the unfaithful wife of the mentalist who would like to be rid of him but keep all of the money. She is very greedy so divorce is out of the question. And greed often makes people stupid.

And so this is the background of the film in which Ross' character plans to murder her mentalist husband in such a way that she avoids all suspicion and thus jail. And from there the twists and turns never stop up to the questionable ending. To tell more would be to tell too much. I'll just say it is fantastic acting by a fabulous cast working with a terrific script in which no piece of dialogue should be ignored by the viewer. With an almost unrecognizable Barry Bostwick who seems to be going through a Loggins and Messina period lookswise as an underemployed actor. Highly recommended.

And for those who might not believe that a 1979 film could possibly be relevant today, I give you the opening scene where Holbrook's character is attaching himself to some computational apparatus and calls a number where a computer operator checks the status of his pacemaker. Immediately after she reassures the caller that the pacemaker is operational she asks for a charge number. American medicine is all about the bucks, then and now.

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