Leading man Tyrone Power plays against type in Nightmare Alley (USA,1947, Twentieth Century Fox), the story of a drifter who becomes an ambitious carnival mind-reader. Success at convincing the “marks” of his psychic powers leads to overreach, and hubris lays the inevitable path to tragedy, in which far more than pride goeth before an epic fall. Available on Amazon, YouTube, and Fox DVD.
Werner Herzog’s Invincible (Germany, 2001, Fine Line Features) is a genre-busting mashup inspired by two real characters: the notorious Erik Jan Hannusen, psychic reader to the Third Reich, who’s inside knowledge of Nazi brass eventually, in real life, led to his murder; and Zishe Breitbart, a Jewish performing strongman. The conniving mentalist is rivetingly portrayed by Tim Roth, who Herzog claims inadvertently hypnotized the cinematographer while filming a scene. Available on Amazon, VUDU, and Google Play.
— Jamy Ian Swiss, Magician, speaker, and author