Black Magic

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Black Magic

Post by Bruce R on Sat Oct 14, 2017 2:36 pm

I'm not a big fan of costumers but this one is pretty good.  IMDb does not list the 1949 BLACK MAGIC as a noir, but Keaney does (he's very inclusive) and gives it a 2.0--a fair appraisal.

It stars Orson Welles, Nancy Guild, Akim Tamiroff, Frank Latimore, Valentina Cortese, Margot Grahame, Charles Goldner and Stephen Bekassy.  Raymond Burr has a small part as Alexandre Dumas, Jr.

Welles gives an impressive, if over-the-top, performance showing a great screen presence. Which is very suitable because he is endowed as a natural hypnotist (although really a gypsy).  His ability is recognized by Dr. Mesmer ("father" of hypnotism) (played by Goldner) which is an interesting inclusion in this Alexander Dumas novel.  Once Welles understands what he can do with his ability to hypnotize, it uses it full bore to enrich himself and gain power.  And so he transforms from the original Joseph Balsamo into Count Cagliostro.

There was an actual Count Alessandro di Cagliostro (1743-1795) and it was the alias for a Giuseppe Balsamo.  He was quite an interesting character gaining the title of Grand Master of the Rose Cross Order and founder of the Egyptian Rite (whatever that is).

The film moves along well, and again, Welles does an excellent job portraying a commanding presence everywhere he goes and with everyone he meets.

Bruce R

Bruce R

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