El mago (1949)

  |  Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

El mago (1949) Poster

A slapstick fantasy of the amorous adventures of a magician a la Cantinflas.


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13 April 2015 | darkwebonlinedotcom
| The magic of Comedy!
Cantinflas, the Mexican Charlie Chaplin, is a lazy administration at a lookalike agency. When a weary spiritualist (referred to throughout as "a magician") wants to take a holiday without abandoning his regular customers, he hires a double from the agency. However, the double gets spooked when gangsters show up at the spiritualist's temple, but he somehow manages to sucker the hapless Cantinflas into taking his place.

Meanwhile, it turns out "the magician" really is from the mysterious east, and is the rightful ruler of the kingdom of Arichi, following the death of his father. A group of missionaries are sent out to find him, but they of course pick up the clueless Cantinflas instead. To add to the intrigue, one of the missionaries is actually a traitor who supports the late king's brother, and intends to finish off the true heir. Add the mob (who want to use the spiritualist's skills in their crimes) and a gold digging temptress (Leonora Amar), and hilarity soon ensues...

The comedy relies heavily on fish-out-of water antics, as the classless Cantinflas presides over his cringing subjects and makes nonsensical comments to the international media. He comically fawns after the beautiful Amar, and a drink with the mob ends in chaos.

Cantinflas' comedies are always worth a watch (if you understand Spanish or can find a subtitled version), and 'El Mago' is no exception. As usual, it's the charisma of the star that is the main drawing point, but there's also a madcap creativity behind his films that put them at least on par with many contemporary American comedies. The fantasy elements are minimal though, pretty much amounting to the real magician's fortune telling abilities not actually being discredited – but that's not really surprising since he's not in it much.

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