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The Mad Magician (1954)

Not Rated | | Horror, Mystery, Thriller | 7 April 1954 (USA)
2:09 | Trailer
Don Gallico is a master at designing magical illusions which are sold by his employer, Mr. Ormond, to famous magicians such as Rinaldi. He is also a master of disguise and realistic mask ... See full summary »


John Brahm


Crane Wilbur (story), Crane Wilbur (screenplay)
3,981 ( 29,995)





Complete credited cast:
Vincent Price ... Don Gallico / Gallico the Great
Mary Murphy ... Karen Lee
Eva Gabor ... Claire Ormond
John Emery ... The Great Rinaldi
Donald Randolph Donald Randolph ... Ross Ormond
Lenita Lane ... Alice Prentiss
Patrick O'Neal ... Lt. Alan Bruce
Jay Novello ... Frank Prentiss


Don Gallico is a master at designing magical illusions which are sold by his employer, Mr. Ormond, to famous magicians such as Rinaldi. He is also a master of disguise and realistic mask design. When Don embarks upon his own career as Gallico the Great, showcasing his own masterful illusions, his dreams are shattered by Ormond and he turns to murder to vent his frustrations. Written by Jeff Hole <jeffhole@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


3D THRILL! Fuel for the human bonfire! See more »


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Film debut of Patrick O'Neal. See more »


It is extremely unlikely that a bonfire of the sort Gallico uses to dispose of Ormond's body would actually produce enough heat to disintegrate human bone, leaving only the shin bones and a section of spine. See more »


Karen Lee: What was in that bag, Don?
Don Gallico: Do you really want to know, Karen? It was a head. A human head.
Karen Lee: Oh, you're just making fun of me.
Don Gallico: Not at all. It was your head, Karen. The dummy head I made for the buzzsaw trick. Do you remember how its eyes rolled and the mouth opened in a scream when the teeth of the saw ripped into its flesh? That was the most lifelike thing I ever made. Do you think I'm going to let Rinaldi take that away from me too? Oh no, my dear. They'll never find that lovely head of yours.
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Featured in Svengoolie: The Return of the Vampire (2018) See more »


Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay
Music by Henry J. Sayers
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User Reviews

The Wonderful Price
31 October 2013 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

The Mad Magician (1954)

*** (out of 4)

Vincent Price followed his success in HOUSE OF WAX with this horror thriller. He plays Don Gallico, a masterful creator of magic tricks who is double crossed by his boss and kills him. He eventually takes the dead man's identity but when the police start to investigate he must commit one murder after another trying to cover his tracks. THE MAD MAGICIAN was originally released in 3D and there are a lot of objects flying towards the screen and even when you view the film flat it's still easy to see that the effects are in good nature and appear to be fun. The movie itself is quite fun from start to finish and a lot of credit has to go to the wonderful Vincent Price. He was such a wonderful actor and his great performance made him a perfect fit for the genre. His soft-spoken nature he just makes you really love his character and made you feel sorry for him once the boss rips him off. Even after he starts murdering people you can't help but wish there's some way for him to get out of it. These added feelings for the character would be missing with so many other actors but Price's perfect performance really adds so much to the film. Mary Murphy is good as his assistant and Eva Gabor is simply snake-worthy as Price's ex-wife. Director John Brahm (THE LODGER) has had experience with the genre so he's able to build up a wonderful atmosphere and keep the film moving at a very fast pace. The biggest flaw with the picture is that it's pretty much HOUSE OF WAX but with a magician. The two film's are very close to one another as it's clear Columbia was trying to capture the success of that Warner film and didn't really come up with a fresh plot. With that said, Price certainly makes this film quite memorable and it ranks as one of the better horror pictures from this period.

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Release Date:

7 April 1954 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Mad Magician See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Columbia Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
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