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 <email@example.com>
I saw this movie as a boy and it lingers after nearly fifty years as a haunting memory. It may be what we now call noir, but the twinkle in Welles' eye also lingers, suggesting a gris texture. That twinkle is the same that Harry Lime (cine verde?) flashed to Holly Martin in the alley scene of The Third Man (which was also made in Europe in 1949).
Cagliostro was a brilliant montebank, alchemist,poseur and rascal of the first order. Welles gave him credibility, perhaps recognizing a kindred spirit down the centuries. I still remember the dark, cobbled streets and slick rainy roof tops of eighteenth century European cities -- scenes also not unlike the ones in The Third Man. The ending, I remember, was also bitter sweet.
I wish that those who produce lesser know classics for DVD restoration might see this "foreign" movie; it is obviously available somewhere since there have been other reviewers. If they chose it I could have my childhood Madeleine experience, and others would have another Welles film to compare with the finite now available.
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