Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Mysterious Magician (1964)

Just time for a quick 'Random Movie Trailer' today.  The Mysterious Magician was an English-language version of a German 'Krimi' originally titled Der Hexer.  Like many of the 'Krimi' movies released in Germany during the sixties, it is derived from an Edgar Wallace story, in this case 'The Ringer', UK versions of which had also been filmed under its original title more than once.  Rialto, who produced the film, were specialists in this genre, not only turning out dozens of Edgar Wallace adaptations during the sixties, but also a similar series  of Dr Mabuse films.  All, of course, in glorious black and white, the monochrome being an essential ingredient of the murky and pulp-like atmosphere of these films - they come over as something akin to Universal's mid forties b-movies, which usually dressed up crime and thriller plots with horror trappings.

Although often using genuine British (usually London) locations,  'Krimi' films present a curious view of the UK, with many aspects seemingly time warped back to the 1930s, despite the ostensibly contemporary (sixties) settings.  Again, their version of London is reminiscent of that presented in another Universal film series: their Sherlock Holmes movies, where London is all fog, 'Cor blimey guv'nor' coppers, menacing docklands and East End dives stalked by bizarre murderers.  The German Edgar Wallace adaptations make an interesting contrast with the contemporaneous series of 'Edgar Wallace Mysteries' being produced by the UK's Merton Park Studios.  These were rather more sedate affairs, focusing on the crime mystery aspects of the source material rather than the more outre elements celebrated by their German equivalents.  Many come over like episodes of TV police procedurals and are set against the background of a far more realistic depiction of London suburbia.  All in all, the German Wallace films are generally more fun, but more difficult to see in English language versions these days.



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