Written by Barry Connors and Philip Klein
Directed by William Cameron Menzies and Marcel Varnel
Plot: After learning the secrets of eastern magic, Frank Chandler has assumed the identity of Chandu. With powers that include teleportation and illusions, Chandu is a crime-fighter with unique skills. Now Chandu is faced with his arch-rival Rokor with the lives of Chandu’s family hanging in the balance. Of course, you also have the love interest of our story, Princess Nadji, to add another element along with the ever present death ray. Can Chandu save his family and defeat Rokor in time?
Personal Thoughts: I love the old radio version of Chandu The Magician and I think this captures the feel of that show. There are certainly elements of Indiana Jones present with our mystic hero in the lead role. Lugosi turns in a great performance at the evil Roxor. In fact, it’s one of his more notorious roles as he is either selling a woman into slavery or ready to plunge a family to their death at various points in the film. Expansive sets and a great supporting cast also add to the overall fun. Unfortunately, its weakest part is that of Chandu himself. Edmund Lowe is a rather dull actor as he lacks the charisma for such a role. Nonetheless, Chandu The Magician deserves more attention than it gets, so I recommend it for a rainy Saturday afternoon.
- Based on the popular radio series, which had several runs in the 30s and 40s.
- Bela Lugosi went on to play the lead role of Chandu in the twelve-part serial The Return of Chandu (1934).