A modern-day politician is faced with an incomprehensible in this mystical-fantasy. Senator Rast is a very powerful man. But his is nothing compared to the extraordinary power of the ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Gregory Wolfe
...
Nick Rast
Carmen Duncan ...
Sandra Rast
...
Doc Wheelan
Gus Mercurio ...
Mr. Bergier
Alan Cassell ...
Mr. Porter
Mark Spain ...
Alex Rast
Alyson Best ...
Alice
Sean Myers ...
Benny Lucas
Mary Simpson ...
Zoe Cayce
Bevan Lee ...
Mr. Robinson
Neville Teede ...
Dr. Barthelemy
Mary Mackay ...
Miss Edith Twist
John Frawley ...
Dr. Lovelock
Nita Pannell ...
Mabel Wheelan
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Storyline

A modern-day politician is faced with an incomprehensible in this mystical-fantasy. Senator Rast is a very powerful man. But his is nothing compared to the extraordinary power of the enigmatic stranger who mysteriously comes to "visit" him. Possessing uncanny magical prowess and miraculous psychic abilities, the peculiar, but seemingly benevolent, visitor quickly gains a spell-binding hold over the senator and his family. But a power-lusting political backer is also vying for control over the up-and-coming senator. And he would kill the influential stranger, without question, for that power. But he and the senator are about to be enlightened. Written by Rone Barton Lokarr <sandbox2@ix.netcom.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He'll take you to the brink of reality [Australia Theatrical] See more »


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 March 1980 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Dark Forces  »

Box Office

Budget:

AUD 850,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert Powell's character, Gregory Wolfe, is actually an amalgam of two legendary characters: Rasputin, the Mad Monk and Harlequin. The latter forms the films title, the nickname of Powell's character and provides one of Wolfe's key costumes in the film whereas the former, Grigory Rasputin, forms the basis of Wolfe's first name, Gregory, and provides his character's alleged psychic and faith-healing traits. The supernatural abilities are an add-on character trait. See more »

Connections

Featured in Ozploitation Trailer Explosion (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Strange but wholly bewitching down under take on the Rasputin story
8 November 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I gotta give a big thumbs up to Rasputin. I mainly watched it because Everett De Roche did the screenplay and hes a reliable genre scribe who puts a good deal of thought and attention to characters into his work, which has included such fine outings as Lomg Weekend, Fortress, Razorback and Storm Warning. Generally I'm not such a big fan of the more fantasy oriented ambiguous genre movies, preferring a more straight ahead approach, although this may be because there seem to be a lot more satisfying straight forward schlockers out there than there are films like this. Anyhow, I watched this late on Halloween night, a wee bit soused and it kept my attention throughout like few films have been able too. The plot sees an Australian politician, whose child has leukaemia getting involved with a mysterious faith healer cum magician and general charismatic oddball. Sound familiar. Well the similarity is made clear by the names of the principal characters, which line up with the names of the main players in the Rasputin story. Senator Nick Rast is of course Tsar Nicholas, his son Alex equal Alexeis, though Alexeis in reality was a haemophiliac, wife Sandra stands for Alexandra, and Gregory Wolfe is analogous to Grigori Rasputin. The film steers clear of the more lurid aspects of the Rasputin legend though, in favor of intriguing ambiguity. Wolfe is never quite pinned down as good or evil, and his agenda is up for interpretation, as is his true nature, though the film definitely gives the impression that something out of the ordinary is going on. Behind all the weirdness of the film there seems to be an interesting look into politics. Wolfe is a kind of mirror for the political world in the film, exposing its chicanery as a sort of magic in itself, or at the very least a manipulative and somewhat warping, unnatural force. His opposite number in the film is a political king maker played by veteran Broderick Crawford, a slimy guy who objects to Wolfe having more influence than him. This conflict drives the film through to its conclusion and provides a tense backbone behind the arresting imagery and crazy tricks (with fun old school special effects). Senator Rast portrayed well by David Hemmings as a committed if slightly staid man, and Carmen Duncan is excellent, and attractive as his wife, who is somewhat enchanted by Wolfe. Mark Spain is suitably creepy as the son, but the film is pretty much owned by Robert Powell's portrayal of Wolfe, an immensely charismatic and persuasive, yet subtle and ambiguous performance that really makes us believe that Wolfe is capable of the acts he performs. As well as what goes on in the film he effectively casts a spell over the audience drawing them deep into the film. The only issue that I had with the film is that though it makes interesting comments about the nature of politics, magic and persuasion and has a number of great scenes, with all sorts of odd stuff going down and a genuinely off kilter ambiance at times that contrasts very nicely with the political setting, its lack of definitive answers or concrete villainry means that from a dramatic point of view it is more interesting than truly thrilling and it doesn't quite reach the kind of climax or revelation that would seem to be appropriate. Though its a heady experience, being taken into the weird hinterland where fantasy and reality interweave a bit of good honest catharsis would have been great, and though the ending is pretty darn cool anyway it does not fully satisfy in this respect. Nonetheless, to fans of offbeat oddball cinema I heartily recommend this lesser known gem.


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