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Black Magic (1949)

Passed | | Drama, Mystery, Romance | 19 August 1949 (USA)
Hypnotist uses his powers for revenge against King Louis XV's court.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(novel), (adaptation) (as John H. Kneubuhl) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Nancy Guild ...
Marie Antoinette / Lorenza
...
Gitano
Frank Latimore ...
Gilbert de Rezel
...
Zoraida
Margot Grahame ...
Stephen Bekassy ...
Viscount de Montagne
Berry Kroeger ...
Gregory Gaye ...
Chambord / Monk (as Gregory Gay)
...
Charles Goldner ...
Lee Kresel ...
King Louis XVI / Innkeeper
Robert Atkins ...
Nicholas Bruce ...
De Remy
Franco Corsaro ...
Chico
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Storyline

Novelist Alexander Dumas tells his writer-son of Joseph Balsamo, a gypsy boy in southern France who was embittered because his parents were wrongfully hanged and he himself was tortured by the order of Viscount de Montagne. Years later, the man, a carnival charlatan, attracts the attention of Dr. Mesmer, a pioneer in the study of hypnotism. Balsamo rejects Mesmer's plea that he use his power for healing and, instead, decides to use it to seek wealth and fame. He changes his name to Count Cagliostro, and achieves fame throughout Europe by mixing hypnotism with mysticism and showmanship. He is called to cure a girl, Lorenza, held by De Montagne, because she resembles Marie Antoinette, wife of the heir to the throne of France. Cagliostro decides to join De Montagne and Madame du Barry in a plot to seize the power by discrediting the future Queen. Cagliostro achieves his revenge on De Montagne by persuading him to hang himself. He makes Lorenza marry him but can never make her love him. ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

...It Will Hold You in its Spell! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Mystery | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

19 August 1949 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Cagliostro  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While the latter portion of the plot revolves around the diamond necklace, the real history is different. In 1772, the infatuated Louis XV requested that Parisian jewelers Boehmer & Bassenge create an elaborate and spectacular jeweled necklace for Du Barry, one that would surpass all known others in grandeur, at an estimated cost of two-million livres. The necklace, still not completed nor paid for when Louis XV died, would eventually trigger a scandal involving Jeanne de la Motte-Valois, in which Queen Marie Antoinette would be wrongly accused of bribing the Cardinal de Rohan, Archbishop of Strasbourg in the Alsace, to purchase it for her, accusations which would figure prominently in the onset of the French Revolution. See more »

Goofs

Cagliostro as a child was scrawny with dark brown eyes and hair, yet he grew up big-boned, with lighter hair and eyes. A genetic impossibility. The young boy was also miscast because both the gypsy parents had blue or green eyes. See more »

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User Reviews

 
One to put back in the attic.
9 January 2008 | by (Tyneside, United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

A curious, little-seen oddity based on an Alexander Dumas tale, it adapts the story of Cagliostro, played by Orson Welles, an 18th century magician and charlatan who has strange hypnotic powers and becomes involved in a plot to overthrow the French monarchy in order to revenge himself on the aristocrat who was responsible for the execution of his parents.

In black and white, it makes use of dark scenes, shadows, close ups and other film noir techniques to accentuate the pseudo-magical qualities of Orson Welles' character. Akim Tamiroff as Welles' gypsy friend is rather good, but Nancy Guild in the dual role of Marie Antoinette and Lorenza, the woman who Cagliostro first rescues, then manipulates, is not outstanding. There is some sword-play and many elaborate costumes are on display in the court episodes, and the early scenes showing Cagliosto's gypsy boyhood when he falls foul of the aristocrat who hangs his father and mother and sentences the boy to be whipped and blinded are strong stuff for the time.

The film seems to have been made in Rome for United Artists and although the plot is somewhat bizarre it is strangely watchable.


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