The Clairvoyant

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This article is about the 1934 film. For the 1982 thriller film, see The Clairvoyant (1982 film).
The Clairvoyant
The Clairvoyant poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed by Maurice Elvey
Produced by Michael Balcon (uncredited)
Written by Ernst Lothar (novel)
Charles Bennett
Bryan Edgar Wallace
Starring Claude Rains
Fay Wray
Jane Baxter
Distributed by Gaumont British (UK)
Fox Film Corporation (US)
Release dates
  • July 15, 1934 (1934-07-15) (US)
Running time
81 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Clairvoyant (US title: The Evil Mind) is a 1934 drama film made in the UK, starring Claude Rains, Fay Wray, and Jane Baxter, directed by Maurice Elvey, and based on the novel of the same name by Ernst Lothar.


Rains plays Maximus ("King of the Mind Readers"), who with the help of his wife, Rene (Fay Wray), and their secret code, performs an English music hall mind-reading act. Then, one night, he notices Christine Shawn (Jane Baxter), a beautiful woman in the audience, and his act begins to turn into reality. He is able to tell a man what is in his letter without any assistance.

Maximus doesn't think much of it, but then, by chance, he and Christine run into each other on a train, and he foretells an impending crash. He pulls the emergency cord to stop the train, but nobody believes him. He, his family and Christine get off, and a few minutes later his prediction comes to pass. Christine tells her father, who owns a newspaper. He publishes the story, making Maximus famous.

Eventually, Maximus realizes that his power only works when Christine is around; as they spend more time together, Christine falls in love with him, and Rene becomes jealous. Meanwhile, his mother (Mary Clare), reveals that she has seen the same thing before and believes that no good will come of it, but Maximus pays little attention, enjoying his well-paid success.

Another of his well-publicized predictions comes true. A 100-to-1 long shot wins the Epsom Derby. He chooses to ignore his own prophecy of his mother's death, and is so distraught when it happens that he decides to do as she wanted. Then, he foretells a great mining disaster. He is unable to convince the mine management to allow the workers to stay away from the mine. Hundreds are killed and more are missing and presumed dead.

He is publicly accused of being involved with the cause of the accident and he is brought to trial. The prosecution claims that Maximus himself caused both tragedies, by delaying the train and by panicking the miners into making a mistake. Maximus predicts in the courtroom that the missing miners will be found alive, and is released when it comes true. Maximus decides to give up his gift and he and Rene slip away into obscurity.


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