Review: ‘The Secret Life of Uri Geller’

“Uri Geller...has had a life in front of the cameras, a life surrounded by controversy”. He sure has, but this uncritical biography doesn’t tell the half of it.

Uri Geller is celebrating forty years of entertaining the public since he first burst onto our TV screens. He was presented at that time as a man who could bend spoons with the power of his mind. A man who could make broken watches tick. In short, an extraordinary human being who – if his claims and those of his devotees were true – would necessitate rewriting the laws of physics. That has been done before, of course, by Albert Einstein, and before him by Sir Isaac Newton. A documentary about the greatest scientist who ever lived was reviewed here last April; the programme was called The Last Magician.

Alas, that is all Uri Geller is, a magician, a competent one to be sure, he is aided by his film star good looks, which at the age of 66 have no more faded than his natural charisma, but if we are to rewrite the laws of physics, we need a great deal more than flim-flam, which sadly is what Uri is really all about, because leaving aside the fact that he has at times been caught cheating, there is no single trick in his limited repertoire that cannot be duplicated by a competent magician.

This programme – which was made with Geller’s full cooperation – begins naturally with him reminiscing about his boyhood. He relates an incident that may well be true, how as a young soldier he came face to face with death, a him or me situation, he pulled the trigger first, and killed the enemy combatant. Shortly after that he was himself wounded, and after his national service, he went into the entertainment business.

Killing a man in any situation is something that fortunately few of us ever need do, so let us not doubt Geller when he tells us this was a life changing experience.

Is it true though that Geller worked for the Mossad? A cameo appearance by war criminal Binjamin Netanyahu may convince the viewer that he did; Geller may well have fooled the CIA, and the Mexican Government as well, he certainly fooled a number of scientists, incuding Targ and Puthoff who appear in this documentary, but one person he did not fool was James Randi, whose book The Truth About Uri Geller can currently be found in portable document format on several websites.

The hour long documentary The Secret Life Of Uri Geller is currently on iplayer for those who can receive it. For those who can’t, and for those who can, check out this short video; at about 55 seconds you can see his blatant use of the false thumb, one of the simplest yet most stunning tricks in magic that even a child can perform.

Finally, here is the Amazing Randi exposing Geller on camera, and here is what happens – or rather doesn’t happen – when Geller attempts to perform his magic under controlled conditions, see the video from around 5 minutes 40 seconds.

[The above review was first published July 22, 2013. The third video is an edit of the one originally linked; the second part contained unrelated material – about another psychic con man, Peter Popoff.]

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