DVD Release: Black Magic

Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Nov. 20, 2012
Price: DVD $19.95
Studio: Hen’s Tooth

Black Magic movie scene

Orson Welles is Cagliostro in 1949's Black Magic.

Based on a novel by Alexander Dumas, the 1949 mystery-drama film Black Magic stars Orson Welles (Macbeth) as the 19th century master hypnotist and charismatic charlatan, Cagliostro.

After his mother is executed for supposedly practicing “witchcraft,” young Joseph Balsamo is raised by gypsies. Under their tutelage, he perfects his skills performing magic tricks and selling snake oil in the gypsy’s travelling caravan show.

Eventually, Joseph meets Franz Mesmer, the famous hypnotist, who convinces Joseph he has even greater gifts which could heal the sick. But Joseph chooses a very different path assuming the name Cagliostro and embarking on a vendetta for power over the man who ordered his mother’s death.

Directed by Gregory Ratoff, this rarely screened classic movie also stars Nancy Guild, Akim Tamiroff, Margot Graham and Raymond Burr.

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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.