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Chandu the Magician (1932)

When delusional madman Roxor kidnaps a scientist in hopes of using his death ray to achieve world dominance, he is opposed by Chandu, a powerful hypnotist and yogi.

Directors:

William Cameron Menzies (as William C. Menzies), Marcel Varnel

Writers:

Barry Conners (screen play), Philip Klein (screen play) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Edmund Lowe ... Chandu / Frank Chandler
Irene Ware ... Princess Nadji
Bela Lugosi ... Roxor
Herbert Mundin ... Albert Miggles
Henry B. Walthall ... Robert Regent
Weldon Heyburn ... Abdulah
June Lang ... Betty Lou Regent (as June Vlasek)
Michael Stuart Michael Stuart ... Bobby Regent (as Nestor Aber)
Virginia Hammond ... Dorothy Regent
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Storyline

Megalomaniac and would-be world dominator Roxor has kidnaped Robert Regent, along with his death ray invention, in hopes of using it to degenerate humanity into mindless brutes, leaving himself as Earth's supreme intelligence. Faced with revealing the machine's secrets or allowing his family to die a horrible death at the hands of Roxor, Regent's only hope lies with the intervention of his brother-in-law, the be-turbaned yogi and magician Chandu, who has the power to make men see what is not there 'even unto a gathering of twelve times twelve'. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

EYES OF TERROR! Weird-Compelling! They Haunt and Hypnotize You in this thrilling love story of Mystery and Black Magic. (Print Ad- New York Evening Post, ((New York NY)) 29 September 1932) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 September 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Chandu - Hypnotisören See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$349,456 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fox Film Corporation See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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. See more »

Goofs

During the scene where Chandu sneaks into the slave auction by luring the guard away with an astral projection. The guard chases the illusion, corner it, only to see it disappear before him. Shot over his shoulder we see him raise his hands in amazement and drop his rifle. There is a cut and the new angle shows the guard from the front with a look of stupefaction on his face - but still holding the gun. See more »

Quotes

Princess Nadji: Have you been married since you last saw me?
Chandu - aka Frank Chandler: That's one feat of magic that requires a beautiful assistant.
See more »

Crazy Credits

A magician's hand waves the opening credits on and off the screen. See more »

Connections

Followed by The Return of Chandu (1934) See more »

Soundtracks

How Dry I Am
(uncredited)
Music by Arthur Fields
Lyrics by Fred Hall
In the score when Miggles is about to take a drink
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Curses, foiled again! ...
4 July 2019 | by AlsExGalSee all my reviews

... I almost expect somebody in this film to say those tired old lines. This is one of the few precode Fox films that has managed to survive. So many were lost to vault fires or just nitrate deterioration from neglect. Odd how this obscurity survived and is on DVD even!

Chandu (Edmund Lowe) is a magician who seems to just be "graduating" as the film begins with a ceremony full of mumbo jumbo that I cannot make sense of even when I rewind and replay it several times. Chandu finds out that his brother-in-law, who was working on a death ray invention, has been kidnapped by Roxor (Bela Lugosi), and so he rushes to his sister's side to protect her and her daughter and try to save his brother-in-law before Roxor can learn the secret of the death ray. And what does Roxor want? Power? RIches? Fame? no he wants to destroy society so mankind will revert to beasts and he can be the smartest guy in the world. Weird. I guess this is what happens when a sociopath is forced to wear a dunce cap as a kid.

If this sounds like something out of silent film, that is how it plays out too. The romance scenes, the action scenes, everything plays out with silent film technique in direction and acting. I generally really like Edmund Lowe and his roles, so I have to lay this at the feet of the director. I could take this in stride in 1929 and 1930 during the transition to sound, but that time is long over.

Probably the most tiresome character, though, is Albert, Chandu's loyal companion. He is cowardly, a drunk, and always having to be rescued by Chandu even though saving Albert from himself is NOT his primary mission. Prohibition was still in force, so maybe all of these unfunny drunks I encounter in these Prohibition era films are supposed to be knocks at an unpopular law. But today, it's just not funny.

Mildly recommended for fans of Edmund Lowe and Bela Lugosi.


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