Movie Review: The Magic Christian

by @edent | #

A garish cartoon poster for The Magic Christian.

Sir Guy Grand (Peter Sellers), the richest man in the world, adopts a homeless boy, Youngman (Sir Ringo Starr). Together, they set out to prove that anyone, and anything, can be bought with money.

I get that this is a seminal film. But it doesn’t stop it being awful.

London at the end of the Swinging Sixties looks like a grim and miserable place. The concrete is drab, the weather is miserable, and the comedy non-existent.

This film – like many British films – is a loose collection of sketches, without much of a plot. As with Magical Mystery Tour, it thinks that chaos is an adequate substitute for excitement. There are flashes of comedy – and you can see how it inspired later shows, but it rarely raises a chuckle.

It is surprisingly progressive – homophobes and racists get particularly short shrift. Obnoxious capitalists and snobs are skewered. Money is shown to corrupt even the most innocent person. And then half a dozen women get their tits out and are whipped by Raquel Welch. So, a mixed bag.

The ending is a glorious mishmash of colour and music. It doesn’t make any sense, of course. Some films just don’t age well.

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