The Mad Magician (1954)
The Mad Magician (1954)
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Critic Reviews for The Mad Magician
Overly complicated and under-developed, this stock horror has its moments of invention...
Audience Reviews for The Mad Magician
This movie reminded me of House of Wax a bit, but not as creepy. The story is interesting and the movie is exciting. Price gives a good performance as always. I liked it.
Fun movie even without the 3-D, which was great. Price is great as a genius illusionist who is finally brought over the edge when his ideas are stolen. He gets revenge by murdering people and then taking their identities. The 3-D is great fun, but the story and Price make this film even better. The end is sudden and it could have used another 15 minutes, but still a solid film.
Vincent Price followed his success in 1953's House of Wax with this horror thriller, reemphasizing his place as the king of hotror as a magician who loses his sanity and finds ingeneous wsys to dispose of those who have held back his career. Nobody in cinematic history does revenge like Vincent Price.
This is essentially a variation on the plot presented in House Of Wax. Price is a designer of illusions for stage magicians who aspires to set out on a performing career of his own, only to be frustrated when another illusionist steals his ideas. When you watch it, you feel his anger and frustration, and you cheer him on when he wreaks vengeance on those who have wronged him. The props he devises for his stage act -- a buzz saw and a crematorium -- are used to dispose of his victims with true Hitchcockian irony. Even though he is a murderer, the viewer will find themself rooting for him as he is a sympathetic character who is driven mad by the people who keep taking advantage of him. Moral of the story: don't mess with Vincent Price.
Mary Murphy and Patrick O'Neal are good as Price's assistant her police detective boyfriend; again these two are similar to the two young protagonists in House of Wax. Eva Gabor is skanky when she appears in a couple of scenes as Price's ex-wife, a gold digging serial divorcee (talk about type casting). Lenita Lane was very good as the
snooping amateur crime novelist landlady who was integral to solving the string of murders. Jay Novello is typecast as her timid husband; he played a similar cameo role in an episode of I Love Lucy.
The Mad Magician" is a solid B-movie melodrama; a crime movie more than a horror picture, and is enjoyable providing you're not expecting a masterpiece. Shot in black and white, it is low on gore, but high on irony. Price's fiery demise in his own crematorium is the ultimate irony, again harkens back to House of Wax. It is best seen as melodrama and enjoyed for the presence of Vincent Price giving an idiosyncratic performance.
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