The Mad Magician

Overview

Vincent Price turns on his usual terrifying charm in the role of a homicidal magician in The Mad Magician, a satisfying thriller that was originally shown in 3-D. The actor best known for the luster he brought to many horror films stars as Gallico the Great, an inventor of magic acts who yearns to be the star of his own show. On the night of his first performance, he is shut down by his cruel manager Ormond (Donald Randolph) -- who wants to use Gallico's ingenious buzzsaw act for the famed magician Rinaldi (John ...
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Overview

Vincent Price turns on his usual terrifying charm in the role of a homicidal magician in The Mad Magician, a satisfying thriller that was originally shown in 3-D. The actor best known for the luster he brought to many horror films stars as Gallico the Great, an inventor of magic acts who yearns to be the star of his own show. On the night of his first performance, he is shut down by his cruel manager Ormond (Donald Randolph) -- who wants to use Gallico's ingenious buzzsaw act for the famed magician Rinaldi (John Emery). Added to the knowledge that the wealthy Ormond had already stolen his wife Claire (Eva Gabor), Gallico goes mad and decapitates his tormentor with the buzzsaw. After a great sequence in which Ormond's head takes a mistaken trip with Gallico's assistant Karen (Mary Murphy) and her detective boyfriend Bruce (Patrick O'Neal), Gallico disguises himself as Ormond and rents an apartment with a mystery author (Lenita Lane). He manages to dispose of the body in another amusing scene, but he must kill again when Claire confronts him in his Ormond disguise. The author identifies Ormond as her killer and Gallico appears to be off the hook -- until Rinaldi appears with designs on stealing Gallico's latest trick: a crematorium illusion. Naturally, the illusion becomes reality and Rinaldi is burned to a crisp. Disguising himself as Rinaldi and taking over the magician's successful show, Gallico continues to fool the law until Bruce matches fingerprints from Rinaldi (who is really Gallico) to those of Ormond. Meanwhile, the author, realizing that the Ormond who stayed in her house was really Gallico, gathers Karen and the detective for a fiery confrontation. ~ Patrick Legare
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Lifting two primary elements from 1953's House of Wax -- Vincent Price and 3-D photography -- director John Brahm created a solid little thriller that overcame its gimmicky background. The story follows a talented aspiring magician (Price) who turns murderous after being snubbed one too many times. The exciting murder scenes smartly make use of the magician's fantastic illusions, which include a buzzsaw and a crematorium, the latter of which comes into play during a frightening finale. With the killings all occurring off-screen, there is no visible bloodshed although some could have been used after Price's Gallico decapitates a man with a buzzsaw and then answers the door perfectly clean. Price delivers a strong performance as the mad magician with a gentle side, a role that is practically identical to the one he played in House of Wax. Other cast notables include Eva Gabor as Gallico's money-hungry ex-wife, Donald Randolph as the buzzsaw victim, and Lenita Lane as the curious mystery writer who helps to solve the case. The screenplay by Crane Wilbur adds some subtle, but twisted depth to a film that was meant for young Saturday matinee audiences. In one sequence, Price's Gallico places a victim's head in his bag, which is then accidentally picked up by his assistant and recovered after a chase that is both funny and thrilling. The following scene finds Price disposing of the whole body -- disguised as a dummy -- by hefting it onto a bonfire during a football pep rally!
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/3/2012
  • UPC: 043396404953
  • Original Release: 1954
  • Rating:

  • Source: Sony Pictures Home
  • Presentation: B&W
  • Language: English
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Vincent Price Gallico
Mary Murphy Karen Lee
Eva Gabor Claire
John Emery Rinaldi
Don Randolph Ross Ormond
Lenita Lane Alice Prentiss
Patrick O'Neal Bruce Allen
Jay Novello Mr. Prentiss
Technical Credits
John Brahm Director
Bryan Foy Producer
Bert Glennon Cinematographer
Art Lange Score Composer
Emil Newman Score Composer
F. Paul Sylos Art Director
Grant Whytock Editor
Crane Wilbur Original Story, Screenwriter
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Mad Magician
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