The Great Merlini (1951)

TV Movie   |    |  Crime

A magician is hired to prevent a jewel heist but the diamonds still disappear despite him being near them.

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9 August 2017 | Pegasus-10
| Interesting curio
This teleplay is headed by the main character featured in the four 1940's locked room / impossible crime books of Clayton Rawson (as well as a number of short stories). (Rawson also wrote about another magician / detective named Don Diavolo under the name Stuart Towne.)

This is not quite as compelling or fun as the books; maybe the short run time doesn't help. The Great Merlini is a magician who also owns a theatrical gizmo-making shop and helps police solve crimes on the side. There's actually two things going on in this pilot for a show that never made it to a season: the jewel heist and the backstory involving a murder and a locked safe that Merlini is required to open.

The acting is adequate and the actors are well cast but the production values seem bare-bones. (Note: although there is a notation listed in the credits of Broadway singer Barbara Cook, I think the actress playing Merlini's capable assistant Julie is another actress with the same name.)

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