Review: ‘The Magic Christian’

A spotty, uneven satire (from the novel by Terry Southern) with a number of good yocks, but insufficient sustained wit or related action. As Peter Sellers & Co swipe at the Establishment, authority, blimpishness and sacred cows, there's a great dismal feeling of self-indulgence as of a pic created merely to please an assorted bunch of chums. Much of it is too 'clever' by half.

A spotty, uneven satire (from the novel by Terry Southern) with a number of good yocks, but insufficient sustained wit or related action. As Peter Sellers & Co swipe at the Establishment, authority, blimpishness and sacred cows, there’s a great dismal feeling of self-indulgence as of a pic created merely to please an assorted bunch of chums. Much of it is too ‘clever’ by half.

Sellers gives a very bright and stylish performance as the posh Sir Guy Grand, richest man in the world, who adopts a young fallout hobo (Ringo Starr) and then sets out to prove to him man’s venality.

Though Sellers gives one of his brightest and best-observed appearances, Ringo Starr’s effort to project himself as a non-Beatle actor is a distinct non-event.

The Magic Christian

UK

Production

Commonwealth United/Grand. Director Joseph McGrath; Producer Denis O'Dell; Screenplay Terry Southern, Joseph McGrath, Peter Sellers; Camera Geoffrey Unsworth; Editor Kevin O'Connor; Music Ken Thorne; Art Director Assheton Gorton

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1969. Running time: 95 MIN.

With

Peter Sellers Ringo Starr Richard Attenborough Christopher Lee Raquel Welch Laurence Harvey

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