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Friday, July 12, 2013

Chandu the Magician (1932) - William Cameron Menzies




I waited, like a child anticipating a Christmas gift, for Chandu the Magician to arrive in the mail. When it came it was better than I could have imagined. The DVD has some awesome features including (drum roll please) commentary from Bela Lugosi's official biographer. You heard it folks. Official biographer. The movie feels like a fun, Indiana Jones type adventure with amazing effects and some really creepy scenes. However, it doesn't even scratch the surface when it comes to horror. 

The movie follows the incredibly powerful magician/yogi Chandu and his exploits while battling his nemesis Roxor, a dark wizard/yogi. Their battles and struggles are really entertaining to watch. The movie tries to bite off a little more than it can chew. I have no problem with the plot revolving around magic users. That part is neato but I do have a problem with them bringing technology into the fold. Technology takes the form of a giant Super Laser that Roxor wants to use to destroy the city he holds hostage. That part is a little much. 

I suppose they wanted to categorize this movie as best they could without stepping on too many toes. Hence the Mad Scientist angle. But, the movie works on so many levels without that unnecessary Laser. If they wanted to go back and remake this, I would advise leaving that out. The set design is amazing. They did a great job with costumes and the creativity behind the production. The script seemed to be lacking in the dialogue department and the acting left a lot to be imagined. It still stands pretty tall when it is lined up with these other jokers. Chandu the Magician is not a bad movie, check it out if you can. I had to buy this one as it is pretty rare. 


Country: USA



Did ya know...
This movie was based on "Chandu the Magician," a radio show that was airing at the time. Chandu was the basis for many of the later magician characters, including DC's Sandor the Mystic and Marvel Comics's Dr. Strange.
Nigel De Brulier's yogi was the model for the sorcerer in Disney's "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."
Cost-conscious Fox studios paid $40,000 for the rights to Chandu. Lugosi received $2500, Ware $1250, Hammond $100, Walthall $1000, and Stuart $300.Filming was completed July 1932. 


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