Chandu the Magician 1932
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Magic, mirth and mystery highlight this tale starring horror legend Bela Lugosi (Dracula, White Zombie) as an evil lunatic set on destroying mankind with a gigantic death-dealing device. Mankind's only hope is Frank Chandler, a.k.a. Chandu The Magician (Edmund Lowe, Dinner at Eight), who calls upon mystical abilities to fight the megalomaniacal fiend. Adapted from the popular broadcast serial, this creepy classic conjures action and excitement at every turn. Co-starring Irene Ware (The Raven) - Directed by William Cameron Menzies (The Maze, Thing to Come) and Marcel Varnel (Convict 99).
Bonus Features: Audio Commentary by Bela Lugosi Biographer Gregory William Mank | Masters of Magic: The World of Chandu Featurette | Restoration Comparison | Trailers
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Mom and Dad were great fans of "Chandu The Magician" when his adventures were first chronicled in the Golden Age of Radio; and I believe that they also had seen this movie at some point in their respective childhoods. Mom did have a habit into sneaking into scary movies when Grandmother and Grandfather warned her not to.
"Chandu The Magician" is a faithful adaptation of all those wonderful radio adventures.
American-born Frank Chandler, who had learned occult secrets from a yogi in India became known as Chandu and possessed several supernatural skills, including astral projection, teleportation and the ability to create illusions.
When his teacher alerts him to the danger his sister's family is in
because his brother-in-law has created a death ray that the evil villian Roxor covets. He kidnaps Regent and his death ray, causing Chandu to teleport to Cario, where his sister Dorothy and her children have been staying. To his credit, Regent refuses to reveal the secret of his death ray, causing Chandu to act to save his sister and his niece and nephew.
What makes this movie different from the radio series is that this time Egyptian Princess Nadji agrees to marry Chandu once Roxor has been vanquished - in a rather interesting way by Chandu.
The film itself is beautifully art directed by William Cameron Menzies and features a wonderful performance by Lugosi as the villain, NOT the lead character "Chandu."
However, Lugosi did play the character in later serials that featured "Chandu the Magician."
The B&W print used in this DVD is a joy to watch.
Bela's old B&W movies are of course fabulous this and Devil Bat to name but two.
The Chandu film is a joy to watch and with the quality being so high we do really get to see more detail of Bela than ever before if you get me. Really nice to have this and I hope more classic Bela films will follow.
Great work here 10/10
I have this motion picture on Fox Horror Classics Volume 2 DVD, and Fox did a great deal of work to restore this film (as you will see from the included Restoration Comparison). I'm buying "Chandu the Magician" again as I want to see and own it in high definition Blu-ray.
This film is often mistaken for the low-budget independent serial titled "The Return of Chandu" (which was later cut into 2 feature films) with Lugosi as the title character: Even Leonard Maltin's review books have made this error for decades (and erroneously gives this film a poor review).
This film is a big budget feature with high production values, and Bela Lugosi stars as the villain Roxor and not as Chandu. It's filled with what was then state-of-the-art special effects -- The biggest weakness is that Edmund Lowe as Chandu has no where near the charisma of Bela Lugosi as the bad guy.