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Chandu the Magician (1932)

When delusional madman Roxor kidnaps a scientist in hopes of using his death ray to achieve world dominance, he is opposed by Chandu, a powerful hypnotist and yogi.

Directors:

William Cameron Menzies (as William C. Menzies), Marcel Varnel

Writers:

Barry Conners (screen play), Philip Klein (screen play) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Edmund Lowe ... Chandu / Frank Chandler
Irene Ware ... Princess Nadji
Bela Lugosi ... Roxor
Herbert Mundin ... Albert Miggles
Henry B. Walthall ... Robert Regent
Weldon Heyburn ... Abdulah
June Lang ... Betty Lou Regent (as June Vlasek)
Michael Stuart Michael Stuart ... Bobby Regent (as Nestor Aber)
Virginia Hammond ... Dorothy Regent
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Storyline

Megalomaniac and would-be world dominator Roxor has kidnaped Robert Regent, along with his death ray invention, in hopes of using it to degenerate humanity into mindless brutes, leaving himself as Earth's supreme intelligence. Faced with revealing the machine's secrets or allowing his family to die a horrible death at the hands of Roxor, Regent's only hope lies with the intervention of his brother-in-law, the be-turbaned yogi and magician Chandu, who has the power to make men see what is not there 'even unto a gathering of twelve times twelve'. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Radio Broadcast Thriller See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 September 1932 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Chandu - Hypnotisören See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$349,456 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fox Film Corporation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the subsequent Chandu serial, producers promoted Lugosi to the role of the magician-yogi. See more »

Goofs

During the scene where Chandu sneaks into the slave auction by luring the guard away with an astral projection. The guard chases the illusion, corner it, only to see it disappear before him. Shot over his shoulder we see him raise his hands in amazement and drop his rifle. There is a cut and the new angle shows the guard from the front with a look of stupefaction on his face - but still holding the gun. See more »

Quotes

Princess Nadji: Have you been married since you last saw me?
Chandu - aka Frank Chandler: That's one feat of magic that requires a beautiful assistant.
See more »

Crazy Credits

A magician's hand waves the opening credits on and off the screen. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The Crystal Gazebo (1932) See more »

Soundtracks

How Dry I Am
(uncredited)
Music by Arthur Fields
Lyrics by Fred Hall
In the score when Miggles is about to take a drink
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Surprisingly Fun and Stylishly Designed
20 July 2011 | by glofauSee all my reviews

Leave your brain at the door, because Chandu the Magician (utilizing his Powers from the Mysterious East) is about to enchant you into believing that trash is pure gold!

This pre-code potboiler from Fox Films introduces Edmund Lowe as Chandu the Magician, an American who has learned almost supernatural powers from the Yogi of the East. He can control men's minds, he possesses powerful protective powers of divination, he can walk on fire or astrally project or perform any number of other miraculous feats.

For reasons that defy logic, Chandu's brother(?) Robert, a Scientist, has been working on developing a Death Ray which can take out an entire city. Just as Robert has finally perfected this project, the evil Roxor (the fabulous Bela Lugosi as "That Monster in Human Form") and his Arabic henchmen kidnap Robert in an attempt to wrest the Secret of the Death Ray from its creator.

In the meantime, Chandu has fallen in with the beautiful Egyptian Princess Nadji, with whom he has been in love for 3 years... Princess Nadji is also in love with Chandu, but has been sacrificing herself Most Nobly for her People. Will these unusual interracial lovers find happiness at last? (Since miscegenation was illegal in many parts of the U.S. during this period in history, this is actually a genuine question!)

Of course, Princess Nadji falls into the clutches of the evil Roxor, and a great deal of deranged soliloquizing follows in the villain's Super-Scientific Laboratory (filled with the requisite Bride of Frankenstein-like crackling electrical apparatus). Will Robert have the strength to keep his Secret of the Death Ray before Roxor has tortured or destroyed all of his loved ones? Will Chandu be able to find Roxor's secret lair in time to Save the World and rescue Robert and the Princess?

In the directorial hands of Marcel Varnel and the brilliant William Cameron Menzies, this unpromising material becomes a stylish-looking, stunningly photographed and beautifully paced bonbon of pulp-y goodness.

If you are in the mood for a campy, beautifully designed, fast-moving melodramatic kiddie-matinée "thriller", I highly recommend this movie. Yummy, stupid, enchanting... and surprisingly progressive about miscegenation for a 1930's film that otherwise wallows in racial stereotypes!


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