Monday, October 27, 2008

Chandu the Magician

Chandu the Magician (2008 DVD)
Directed by Marcel Varnel and William Cameron Menzies
USA, 1932
In English with French and Spanish subtitles

Chandu the Magician, one of three discs in the Fox Horror Classics, Vol. 2 collection that came out about a month or so ago, is a super-cheesy thriller that's probably more like a serial adventure than a horror classic when it comes down to it. I had a decent enough time watching it due to the old school special effects, "exotic" set designs, and clever cinematography that it's become somewhat famous for (face it, any film having to do with astral projection and death rays can't be all bad--and that one imitation thrill-ride dolly shot in the Egyptian rock temple is a real winner), but unimaginably bland lead Edmund Lowe is almost entirely devoid of charisma in the title role of the ex-army captain turned Indian-trained yogi known as Chandu the Magician. While the hero's lack of acting chops and wispy moustache will surely make you want to root for the bad guys, Irene Ware (undeniably lovely as Chandu's love interest, the Princess Nadji) and Bela Lugosi (at his hammy best as Chandu's nemesis, the megalomanical Roxor) help this film salvage a Gambling with Countess Dusy Told rating of 2.5/5 stars--by any sane person's standards, a good 2.5 stars more of entertainment than that full-on dud The Prestige from 2006! (

Irene Ware

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