Black Magic

Synopsis: Novelist Alexander Dumas tells his writer-son of Joseph Balsamo, a gypsy boy in southern France who was embittered because his parents were wrongfully hanged and he himself was tortured by the order of Viscount de Montagne. Years later, the man, a carnival charlatan, attracts the attention of Dr. Mesmer, a pioneer in the study of hypnotism. Balsamo rejects Mesmer's plea that he use his power for healing and, instead, decides to use it to seek wealth and fame. He changes his name to Count Cagliostro, and achieves fame throughout Europe by mixing hypnotism with mysticism and showmanship. He is called to cure a girl, Lorenza, held by De Montagne, because she resembles Marie Antoinette, wife of the heir to the throne of France. Cagliostro decides to join De Montagne and Madame du Barry in a plot to seize the power by discrediting the future Queen. Cagliostro achieves his revenge on De Montagne by persuading him to hang himself. He makes Lorenza marry him but can never make her love him. He
Production: United Artists
105 min

Father, for heaven's sake,

what is this?

Night after night.

Scribbling as if you've got

the very devil in you.

I've got the devil in me,

or worse.

Why, father, this doesn't sound

like you at all.

This man, this fantastic man...

I tell you, he's under my skin.

They say he hypnotized

half the world.

I swear to you, he's got me

hypnotized too.

What man?

That man.

That mind menacing mammal.

That... Cagliostro.

Oh, Cagliostro!

The 18th century charlatan.

Was he a charlatan?

I don't know.

I've written books.

Pages enough to paper the walls

of the Paris Opera House.

Characters enough

to fill a regiment.

"The Count of Monte Cristo,"

"The Corsican Brothers,"

"The Three Musketeers,"

Porthos, Athos, Aramis,

"Chicot the Jester,"

"D'Artagnan. "

But I wrote them.

This man is writing me.

All right, all right.

When I left the opera, I thought

I was going peacefully to bed,

but I inflicted my novel "Camille"

on you last week.

Now, what was this fellow Cagliostro?

How in the name

of all the saints would I know?




I'm still wondering.

But his real name

was Joseph Balsamo.

His mother and father

were gypsies.

It is in the South of France

that we first hear of him.

Joseph's mother seems to have had

a genuine gift of clairvoyance.

At a gypsy fair she looked into

the eyes of a farmers baby

and foretold its illness.

A few days later, the baby died

and Joseph and his parents

were brought to trial before

the prefect of the district,

the Vicomte DeMontagne.

The charge was that Joseph's mother

was a sorceress,

and that all three

were disciples of the devil.

She's the witch that murdered

our boy, Excellency.


Lying, murdering gypsies!

That's what they be.


He never had a sick day

in his life, my Lord,

'til she looked at him

with those wicked eyes.

"You're sick," she says,

"you're very sick. "

And my grandchild died!

It's a lie!

My mother had nothing to do with it.

She did not, my Lord.

Highness, Excellency,

if you would let me speak.

Maria never hurt a soul.

She's a mother herself.

It's just she has a...

sort of sixth sense

which told her this baby felt sick.

The baby never had

a sick day in his life.

If I could be allowed to speak...

Father, these people cause

nothing but trouble

with the devil's practices.

Devils have been the business

of the church

ever since the fall of Lucifer.

There have been cases

of clairvoyance, second sight...

There's no such thing!

Then how can you explain

the visions of the prophets?

The prophets weren't gypsies, Father.

I find no evil in this woman.

I said I heard enough.

It's none of your business.

Woman, the bailiff will give you

two pieces of silver.

Raise another child

and keep it away from such as these.

And as for the gypsies...

Hang them both.

You won't hang my mother.

Not my mother! No.

Take this filth!

Excellency, as a priest

I must ask...

As prefect I must ask you

to hold your tongue.

Hang them both!

Why, you...

I've probably contracted rabies.

Bailiff, put him

on the whipping post.

If he survives the whipping...

No, no!

Put out his eyes!

No, not his eyes!

Not his eyes.



He's still conscious.

Are you ready?







Joseph, bambino.


No. No, Joseph. No.

Don't look.

No, Gitano. I have to remember.

They made me watch

while they hanged them.

Mother took along time to die.

I hardly felt a whip after that.

Those things

are best forgotten, Joseph.

No, I want to remember

as long as I live.

And that man's name, DeMontagne.

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Alexandre Dumas

Alexandre Dumas (UK: , US: ; French: [alɛksɑ̃dʁ dyma]; born Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie [dyma davi də la pajətʁi]; 24 July 1802 – 5 December 1870), also known as Alexandre Dumas père (French for 'father'), was a French writer. His works have been translated into many languages, and he is one of the most widely read French authors. Many of his historical novels of high adventure were originally published as serials, including The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, and The Vicomte de Bragelonne: Ten Years Later. His novels have been adapted since the early twentieth century for nearly 200 films. Dumas' last novel, The Knight of Sainte-Hermine, unfinished at his death, was completed by scholar Claude Schopp and published in 2005. It was published in English in 2008 as The Last Cavalier. Prolific in several genres, Dumas began his career by writing plays, which were successfully produced from the first. He also wrote numerous magazine articles and travel books; his published works totalled 100,000 pages. In the 1840s, Dumas founded the Théâtre Historique in Paris. His father, General Thomas-Alexandre Davy de la Pailleterie, was born in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti) to Alexandre Antoine Davy de la Pailleterie, a French nobleman, and Marie-Cessette Dumas, a slave of African descent. At age 14 Thomas-Alexandre was taken by his father to France, where he was educated in a military academy and entered the military for what became an illustrious career. Dumas' father's aristocratic rank helped young Alexandre acquire work with Louis-Philippe, Duke of Orléans. He later began working as a writer, finding early success. Decades later, in the election of Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte in 1851, Dumas fell from favour and left France for Belgium, where he stayed for several years. Upon leaving Belgium, Dumas moved to Russia for a few years before going to Italy. In 1861, he founded and published the newspaper L'Indipendente, which supported the Italian unification effort. In 1864, he returned to Paris. Though married, in the tradition of Frenchmen of higher social class, Dumas had numerous affairs (allegedly as many as forty). In his lifetime, he was known to have at least four illegitimate children; although twentieth-century scholars found that Dumas fathered another three other children out of wedlock. He acknowledged and assisted his son, Alexandre Dumas, to become a successful novelist and playwright. They are known as Alexandre Dumas père ('father') and Alexandre Dumas fils ('son'). Among his affairs, in 1866, Dumas had one with Adah Isaacs Menken, an American actress then less than half his age and at the height of her career. The English playwright Watts Phillips, who knew Dumas in his later life, described him as "the most generous, large-hearted being in the world. He also was the most delightfully amusing and egotistical creature on the face of the earth. His tongue was like a windmill – once set in motion, you never knew when he would stop, especially if the theme was himself." more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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