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Man on a Swing (1974)

Cliff Robertson , Joel Grey , Frank Perry  |  PG |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Man on a Swing + Child's Play + The Dark Mirror
Price for all three: $49.74

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Product Details

  • Actors: Cliff Robertson, Joel Grey, George Voskovec, Dorothy Tristan, Lane Smith
  • Directors: Frank Perry
  • Writers: David Zelag Goodman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Olive Films
  • DVD Release Date: September 4, 2012
  • Run Time: 105 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0089LT8EG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #223,996 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

A small-town police chief, Lee Tucker (Cliff Robertson) investigating the murder of a young woman is offered help by a supposed clairvoyant, Franklin Wills (Joel Grey), who gives him details of the crime that he's seen in visions. The details are startlingly correct, but Tucker is not convinced that Wills is indeed clairvoyant and begins to suspect him of the murder. Man on a Swing, based on a true case, is a puzzling crime thriller, directed by Frank Perry (Mommie Dearest). The film includes a great cast of character actors: George Voskovec (12 Angry Men), Lane Smith (My Cousin Vinny) and Josef Sommer (Witness).

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great Frank Perry Film March 12, 2012
Format:Amazon Instant Video|Verified Purchase
I was so happy when I noticed that Amazon had this hard-to-find Frank Perry film (almost all of his are hard to find) available to stream or download. The first Frank Perry film I watched was The Swimmer, and I have been a fan ever since. I was lucky enough to be living in Los Angeles when the Egyptian Theater featured a retrospect of some of his films including The Swimmer, Doc, Diary of a Mad House Wife, and another favorite of mine, Play it as it Lays. I would highly recommend all of his films including his first, David and Lisa. There's just something about them, that I still can't put my finger on. There's a quirkiness to them, and occasional imperfections, especially in The Swimmer, considered one of the first independent films, but under it all is a unique, but often subtle, auteur vision to his films. Man on as Swing was no exception in terms of those qualities, but it also has the feel of a film in which the director had a very solid command of his craft. It's Perry's only pure detective/police drama type of film I know of, but is, like all of his films, come to think of it, very focused on human psychosis. It's basically an unsolved murder case, supposedly based on true events, and focuses on a police detective played by Cliff Robertson, that is trying to solve the case of a young girl who has been strangled and left in her car in a mall parking lot. There's quite a few very creepy scenes in the film, including the images of this young girl's contorted dead body lying in the front seat floor. Cliff Robertson clocks in a really incredible performance as a cop that becomes haunted and obsessed with solving this case. He's got a quiet, brooding, man's-man type of thing going on. Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What does the psychic "see"? October 30, 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Joel Grey is mesmerizing as the psychic, whose mannerisms defy revelation of his intentions. Cliff Robertson, as the investigating police chief, takes the audience on a journey into the emotional, personal toll of police work. The ending is frustrating, paralleling the actual case. I would recommend this film for those who like the cat-and-mouse suspense of Hitchcock films and the detective skills employed prior to DNA and other high-tech tools.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eerie Mystery May 7, 2013
By Anne
Unusual based on fact movie from the 1970s about the tragic rape/murder of a beautiful young teacher in a California town. The movie changes many of the facts of the case, including the resolution, but this is really unimportant because the film is unique and the acting is terrific.

The murder investigation is interrupted by a phone call to the police chief from a man who describes himself as a psychic. He says he doesn't read the newspapers but has a "feeling" that he is needed to help with an important case.

Grey as the "over the top" psychic monopolizes every scene he is in. You can't take your eyes off of him. His character is nicely balanced by the down to earth common sense of the police chief played by Cliff Robertson.

But the drama doesn't stop at the station because at home Robertson argues with his pregnant wife, Dorothy Tristan, who doesn't like the Grey character. Robertson is doubtful himself, but Grey has so many facts that he couldn't know unless he's a psychic or the murderer, that Robertson finds himself conflicted.

Years ago when I was looking for this movie on VHS, it was difficult to find and so I'm pleased to see that Amazon is offering it on DVD. Forget the kind of sappy beginning, the movie gets down to the nuts and bolts very quickly, and holds your interest through to the unexpected ending.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Inspired by a true case, Frank Perry's Man on a Swing sees Cliff Robertson's police chief in a small town (the kind that still looks like it's stuck in the late 60s in 1974) out of his depth when trying to solve the murder of a young girl. The case is clearly going nowhere as he almost sleepwalks through the investigation as if numbed by shock, though that may just be because the police are too busy getting their fingerprints over the evidence and drinking Budweiser and making sure the logo is facing the camera at every opportunity: police stations, bars, at home - any time is Budweiser time for these cops. For the first couple of reels it's not much above TV movie of the week level, but it jolts into life every time Joel Grey appears as a clairvoyant who offers to help with the case even though he claims to have heard nothing about the murder. But just how reliable is he and what are his real motives?

It's certainly a fascinating performance, and a surprisingly controlled one. Even when he's throwing himself about in spasms or jumping up on tables he manages to make his behavior seem absolutely natural: it's a very physical performance but not a hammily overplayed one, as if the mind and the body are in complete opposition. It's an entirely credible but unknowable performance, disturbing not because he plays the usual horror notes but because of the quiet euphoric satisfaction he exhibits after each trance. All Cliff Robertson can do when he's up against him is to offer a study in contrast by dialling it down to the bare minimum and sit still and watch him intently. His best scene comes in a confrontation with his jealous wife Dorothy Tristan, who hates the fact that it's the murder victim's photo he carries in his wallet instead of hers.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Joel Grey has to be seen to be believed, Cliff Robertson equal to the...
This unpretentious film offers compelling performances, economic story telling, and a brisk pace, which together keep the viewer's wits working without a break. Read more
Published 9 days ago by CH
4.0 out of 5 stars psychological thriller
The film is well written and acted. Video is crisp.

Don't read further because of spoiler - the viewer is left hanging since culprit was never caught based on real... Read more
Published 25 days ago by daemon
5.0 out of 5 stars Sent to a friend.
I had a friend say he wanted to acquire this movie, so I searched for it and found it for him. He said he enjoyed it.
Published 2 months ago by J. L. Brundage
4.0 out of 5 stars 40 years later
I had a small roll as a uniform police officer in this film and I saw first hand how hard the actors worked . Read more
Published 4 months ago by John Geter
4.0 out of 5 stars Man On a Swing Blu-ray Review
Man On a Swimg is well written, well acted, and well directed by Frank Perry. The anamorphic widescreen picture is good.
Published 4 months ago by Manny Agah
5.0 out of 5 stars Saw this on TV in the 70s when I was young
Never quite forgot it. Very creepy and hard to write an impartial review about this movie. Just see it. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Lawrence J. Patti
3.0 out of 5 stars Unsettling, but not in a way you would guess
An unsettling movie. Cliff Robertson is a conventional police chief in a Midwest town. He's bogged down in a homicide investigation. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Frank Barron
4.0 out of 5 stars Creepy but engrossing
The film is about a psychic (Joel Grey) who inserts himself into a murder investigation. The film is based on a true story and as the film rolls on the guessing game is if Grey is... Read more
Published 12 months ago by J. Nixon
2.0 out of 5 stars Underwhelming time passer
This film professes to be based on a true story, but the question is, why? There's no mystery solved. There's no significant details revealed. Read more
Published 22 months ago by nothingt5
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