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Black Magic (1949)

Passed  -  Drama | Mystery | Romance  -  19 August 1949 (USA)
6.5
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.5/10 from 349 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 5 critic

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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A woman has two lovers. When one man finds out about the other, he acts as a villain and chases after the protagonist.

Director: Orson Welles
Stars: Joseph Cotten, Virginia Nicholson, Edgar Barrier
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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 ...
Dr. Franz Anton Mesmer
Lee Kresel ...
King Louis XVI / Innkeeper
Robert Atkins ...
Nicholas Bruce ...
De Remy
Franco Corsaro ...
Chico
Edit

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 make Lorenza marry him but can never make her love him. ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The biggest picture in ten years! The greatest cavalcade of intrigue, spectacle, adventure and excitement you'll ever see on the screen

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

In Balsamo's climactic escape attempt, Gitano passes him a pistol, seen very clearly as a small flintlock typical of the period. Balsamo then fires at least four shots from it without any time to reload. Repeating pistols not invented until the nineteenth century, and looked nothing like the gun used by Balsamo. See more »

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User Reviews

Under-rated gem!
28 March 2004 | by (San Francisco) – See all my reviews

Orson Welles is mesmerizing and perfectly suited to the role of

Count Cagliostro. He has waited silently for over 20 years secretly

planning revenge on the ruling class he holds responsible for the

drunken public execution of his Mother he witnessed as a boy.

Is Cagliostro an ambitious Gypsy charlatan or a demonic master

of the black arts? There are several entertaining scenes where

Cagliostro gains the upper hand over odds stacked against him

such as the "choking rope" switcheroo in the jail, and the "your

legs are like wax" turnabout. Yet similarly to SVENGALI (John

Barrymore) he will not be able to exert this will power forever over

everyone. Welles seems to be thoroughly enjoying himself throughout. in

BLACK MAGIC has threads in common with "The Prisoner in the

Mirror" Boris Karloff presents THRILLER teleplay, an updating of

the magician known as Cagliostro. The real mystery is why such an enjoyable movie was dismissed

as something of little importance. It's my favorite off-beat Welles

film. Welles co-directed, though was uncredited.


16 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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