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The Return of Chandu1934

  • 2.9
Three years after his legendary first screen appearance as Dracula (a role he'd already played on stage), Bela Lugosi got one of his rare chances to play the hero in this twelve-part serial. He plays Frank Chandler (aka "Chandu the Magician") who becomes embroiled in intrigue when Princess Nadji (Maria Alba) is kidnapped by the Ubasti, a religious sect of sorcerer-priests who want to sacrifice her in order to revive her ancestor, a mummified goddess. These "cat worshippers" put Chandu and his allies through no end of perils, including hungry tigers, "pit and pendulum"- type torture and other challenges. Fortunately, Chandu has a lot of magical skills (including invisibility) that help get them out of such scrapes. Many a pith helmet and jeweled turban is worn in this outlandish, independently produced film, which was adapted from a radio drama and utilized some impressive sets left over from big-studio productions (including KING KONG). In addition to being shown in theaters as twelve weekly chapters, it was also distributed as two stand-alone features (the first under this title and the second as CHANDU ON THE MAGIC ISLAND). - Dennis Harvey

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