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Black Magic1949

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  • 3.6
A recount of the life and times of notorious 18th-century hypnotist/magician/scam artist Alessandro Cagliostro. Learning the secrets of hypnosis from Dr. Mesmer, Cagliostro exploits this skill to gain wealth, prestige and, on occasion, romance. His downward slide begins when Cagliostro enters into an Anastasia-like scheme to substitute a young lass named Lorenza for French queen Marie Antoinette.
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Member Reviews (7)

top reviewer

Orson Welles at the peak of his powers. He isn't good enough to give this film legs, however. It was readily predictable. It makes you really glad that method acting came into vogue soon after this film. I could not make it all the way through this. could anyone else?

1 member likes this review
top reviewer

I find it hard to believe this schlocky crud is averaging four stars; I couldn't even make it through an hour of this. And I'm a HUGE Welles fan; I've seen just about every movie he's directed, even the Shakespearean ones. But it's obvious Welles was coasting here to get a paycheck.

1 member likes this review
top reviewer

Haha... The worst film I've ever seen with Orson Welles.

top reviewer

Ratoff's and Welles' Black Magic (1949) is a great film, in the storytelling tradition of Cinematic Art. It spins what seems like an incredible yarn, but a well thought out screenplay, great acting by Orson Welles in the lead role, and very good direction makes the story believable enough that the film captivated my imagination, and fully engaged me throughout the whole film. By the way, my cynicism about the improbability of this tale was quelled when I read the Wiki article about the real Caglioostro. Although the story in this film deviates significantly from Cagliostro's biography, the real man was even MORE outrageous than the character that Welles portrays in this film.

Poor Orson stuck in this mediocre melar. Probably did this to finance another film/project of his own.

Like the other reviewer, I couldn't finish watching this movie. Should have suspected when as much when Gregrory Ratoff's name appeared in credits as director He couldn't direct traffic. Watch Citizen Kane to see Welle's many talents, he wore many hats there and sshowed his cinematic genius.

This is not a particularly great film, but it's a lovely paint by numbers period piece. The rich sets and actors make up for several Hollywood pitfalls in story telling. I don't mind the pre-method acting, it suits the world it is trying to encompass and Welles looks like he is enjoying playing one his favorite roles on and off camera, a magician.