The Magician (1926 film)

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The Magician
The Magician.jpg
original movie poster
Directed by Rex Ingram
Produced by Rex Ingram
Written by Rex Ingram
W. Somerset Maugham (novel)
Starring Alice Terry
Paul Wegener
Iván Petrovich
Cinematography John F. Seitz
Edited by Grant Whytock
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release dates
  • October 24, 1926 (1926-10-24)
Running time 83 minutes
Country United States
Language Silent film
English intertitles

The Magician is a 1926 horror film directed by Rex Ingram about a magician's efforts to acquire the blood of a maiden for his experiments to create life. It was adapted by Ingram from the novel The Magician by W. Somerset Maugham.[1] It stars Alice Terry, Paul Wegener and Iván Petrovich.

Plot[edit]

In the Latin Quarter of Paris, sculptor Margaret Dauncey is injured when the top of the huge statue of a faun (see poster) she is working on breaks off and falls on her. After successful surgery by brilliant Dr. Arthur Burdon saves her from paralysis, she and Burdon fall in love.

The surgery is watched by various doctors and others, including Oliver Haddo, a hypnotist, magician and student of medicine. Later, in the Library of the Arsenal, Haddo finds what he has been searching for: a magic formula for the creation of human life. One of the ingredients is the "heart blood of a Maiden". He rips out the page and presents the old book to Dr. Porhoet, Margaret's uncle and guardian, who has also been looking for it.

When Margaret, Burdon and Dr. Porhoet go to the Fair at Leon de Belfort, they encounter Haddo, whom Margaret dislikes immediately. When Dr. Porhoet claims that the snake charmers use harmless snakes, Haddo refutes him and demonstrates his powers by letting a deadly horned viper bite him. He then magically makes the wound disappear. Porhoet remains unconvinced until the discarded viper strikes a young woman performer. Burdon has to rush her to a hospital.

Later, Haddo visits Margaret uninvited. He hypnotizes her and tells her to concentrate on her statue. It seems to come to life to preside over an orgy.

Two days before her wedding to Burdon, Margaret receives a note from Haddo, asking her to see him the next morning. She tries to resist the summons, but fails. On the day of the wedding, Burdon learns that Margaret has married Haddo instead. Porhoet is convinced it was against his niece's will, and Burdon tries to track them down.

Burdon eventually encounters the couple at a casino in Monte Carlo. He and Porhoet free Margaret while Haddo is away. Porhoet places her in a sanatorium to recover.

Haddo, however, finds her and takes her to his laboratory in a tower. Burdon and Porhoet employ a guide to take them there. Just as Haddo is about to stab a bound Margaret, Burdon bursts in. After a violent struggle, Haddo falls into a huge fire and is killed. Margaret emerges from her trance and is reunited with her true love. Porhoet finds the page with the formula. He burns it and sets the laboratory afire as well.

Cast[edit]

  • Alice Terry as Margaret Dauncey
  • Paul Wegener as Oliver Haddo
  • Iván Petrovich as Dr. Arthur Burdon
  • Firmin Gémier as Dr. Porhoet
  • Gladys Hamer as Susie Boyd, Margaret's painter friend
  • Henry Wilson as Haddo's Servant
  • Hubert I. Stowitts as Dancing Faun (as Stowitts)

A young Michael Powell made a brief appearance in a comedic role and also acted as assistant director.

Soundtracks[edit]

Silent film composer Robert Israel created a score for the Turner Classic Movies reissue of the movie.[2][3]

The Ragged Ragtime Band created and performed a score for The Magician at the Brighton Fringe Festival in 2012.[4]

The Nenagh Silent Film Festival commissioned Eoin Mac Ionmhain to compose and premiere a live score for the Magician in 2013.[5]

References[edit]

External links[edit]