The Magic Christian
Director: Joseph McGrath
Year: 1969
TRT: 1:41

Reviewed: 4/25/07

This is an interesting look at the 60's revolution from a strictly British perspective. Basically thumbing its nose at both Kingdoms and States United, this is pure counter-culture with a bizarrely recognizable cast. While headed by comedic great Peter Sellers with the comedic atrocity Ringo Starr in tow, this is more a cultural montage of skits set to dirty-hippy kind of music than any kind of normal progression of events. '69 + U.K + Clouseau + Whacky Beatle = uh, this movie?

The basic premise is a filthy-rich corporate magnate (Sellers), with no heir of his own, picks up a hippyish vagabond in the park (Starr) and adopts him. What commences can only be described as a slow build to pure anarchy, fingers casually pressing the elevator buttons of every major social issue on the way down. Occasionally to humorous effect. None-too-subtle message in regards to Capitalism, this tends to be a blackly comedic look at the fact that everyone has their price.

Anchored by McCartney's song "Come and Get It," at first refreshing, turns into a running gag of how often they're going to dip back into that well. Still, this is a great capsule of the time, showing (somewhat exaggerated effects of) monetary greed, corporate whoreism, gross gluttony, cultural elitism. Pretty much any "valued" tradition or belief is skewered here. Some great cameos by British director Richard Attenburough (Magic), Roman Polanski, Raquel Welch in fine form, John Cleese and Graham Chapman; the latter two helping contribute some "additional material" if the opening credits are to be believed. Nice incorporation of Thunderclap Newman's "Something in the Air."

Great Scene: The dogshow incident. Fucking awesome place to wreak havoc, where self-important wankers take such pride in their measly little mindless meatpuppets.

Media Notes: Strictly barebones Fullscreen release by New Republic. Sure there's some scratches on the print and some pretty bad location audio, but what do you expect? A pristine print and THX sound would be particularly laughable if applied to such a film. Despite no other extras, nice to see this actually released on DVD, regardless.


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