Harlequin (Dark Forces) (The Minister's Magician) Reviews
Simon Wincer and Everett De Roche had previously collaborated on Snapshot but were not happy with the film since it was made so hurriedly. They decided to make another film, came up with six ideas and eventually chose The Minister's Musician, a modern-day version of the Rasputin story. They did a treatment and Antony I. Ginnane became involved as producer.
Everett de Roche originally did a 400-page first draft in which the central character, Gregory Wolfe, was a priest. When the producers sent the script to the US, they were worried that this would make the film hard to market in Catholic countries so it was changed. The script was given to some American writers to work on but Wincer was not happy with the changes. As de Roche was not available, Wincer went over the script with Russell Hagg although he later said he would have preferred it if de Roche had done the job.
The script was written with David Bowie in mind for the lead role and conversations were had with Bowie but the filmmakers got "cold feet" at the last minute and cast Robert Powell . The original choice for the role of the senator was Orson Welles but he wanted $80,000 a week for two weeks so Broderick Crawford was cast instead
The film performed poorly at the Australian box office but was very successful overseas. Simon Wincer says it was particularly successful in South America, due in part to Robert Powell's popularity there
In Australia, Harlequin was released on an All Region DVD by Umbrella Entertainment on Wednesday, 27 October 2004. It was presented in a remastered 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, and Special Features were an Audio Commentary by director Simon Wincer and producer Antony I. Ginnane, a theatrical trailer and a photo gallery.
In the US, Harlequin was released as Dark Forces by Image Ent. on 8 June 2004. It was presented in 2.35:1 Widescreen, with Behind The Scenes Photo Gallery, Filmographies, Isolated Music Score and an Audio Commentary by director Simon Wincer and producer Antony I. Ginnane. It is set for release on Blu-ray in the US by Scorpion Releasing on 29 October 2013 under its original title.
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Most of the better films were produced by Anthony I Ginanne and were written by Everett De Roche .
This film is a basic spin on the tale of Rasputin as mysterious faith healer Robert Powell turns up at the home of a local senator played by David Hemming's cures his son of leukaemia and proceeds to gain a strong influence over him and his wife..
its kind of Rasputin meets the Omen with a political thriller tacked on as well, and despite it being a bit confused in some places its not half bad .
Powell is clearly having a great time as the mysterious healer and Hemming's is suitably bemused as his life falls apart.
Only Broderick Crawford who was a last minute replacement for Orson Welles lets the side down as he looks like he has had a heavy night out on the beer before acting in the film.
So aside from that this Is a solid entry in the OZplotation genre