DHTML Menu By Milonic JavaScript

Two Historical Film Noir

Wednesday, November 14, 1979
7:30 p.m. Black Magic
Gregory Ratoff (1944)

Black Magic, with its baroque images of intense chiaroscuro providing a central style, has the clear touch of Welles: “...Peter Noble’s biography of Orson Welles cites that Welles agreed to do Black Magic provided he was allowed to direct his own scenes.... The film is signed by Gregory Ratoff, but since Welles is in about 90 per cent of the film, it is obvious that the film is his. In this film, based loosely on ‘The Memoirs of a Physician,’ Welles again plays one of the ‘Twelve Against the Gods’ - Cagliostro - one of those strange mortals favored by Destiny for a time, whose entire Being is devoted to a defiance of Fate by assuming the role and temperament of an Adventurer. Behind this film looms the fertile and suggestive themes of Bolitho’s book which has provided the source and inspiration for many films - from Alexander The Great to Lola Montes.
“As a side dividend, it is a pleasure to watch Welles lift from himself and spin variations on his own obsessions: to wit the ‘steal’ from the ending of The Stranger, transposed (with changes) to the turbulent era of the ‘Queen’s Necklace.’”

—Dennis Jakob

• Directed by Gregory Ratoff. With Orson Welles, Raymond Burr, Akim Tamiroff. (1944, 105 mins, Print from Walter Reade 16)