Terribly funny book written by Terry Southern which, slightly rearranged by the author, became a very funny 1969 movie starring Peter Sellers as Guy Grand, a very rich man who likes to mess with the heads of the greedy and narrow-minded. Among those he works on: grocery store customers, the higher management of his own company, traffic wardens, the patrons of a snooty French restaurant, both the experts and customers at an art auction, the audience of The Oxford-Cambridge Varsity Boat Race, the cream of English high society, and finally whatever greedy people happen to pass a particular vacant field. It's really more of a series of skits than events that have to occur in any particular order, but it does build to a climax.

The movie features Ringo Starr as Grand's adopted son, and small parts for Richard Attenborough, Christopher Lee, Spike Milligan, Roman Polanski, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Raquel Welch, and if you look very closely, John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Badfinger perform much of the music, including their hit "Come And Get It" which is essentially the theme to the film.

If you go to http://usimdb.com and look up The Magic Christian, the average rating it gets from users is 5.5 out of 10. That makes it sound like a mediocre movie, but upon reading the reviews, one will discover that it got a 5 primarily because the reviewers either loved the movie or hated it. This comment by Cliff Sloane of Seattle, WA sums it up best:


Reading the other comments convinces me that we have become the society this film satirizes. No current filmmaker comes close to this level of insight or provocative innovation. Maybe I'm just being nostalgic for a most irreverent time, but nothing going on today is even close to being as subversive as this. The film is a series of unconnected sketches, so don't look for plot.

The point is to set up a series of darkly funny attacks on British bourgeois society, so don't look for good acting (except of course for Peter Sellers). Instead, look for one savage critique after another, with biting dialog and absurd situations. I loved it!


In other words, you probably have to have a really twisted sense of humor to enjoy it. I have not yet see this movie, BUT: Pre-Monty Python actors? Christopher Lee as The Ship's Vampire? Yul Brynner in drag? Created by Terry Southern, the same guy who brought us Dr. Strangelove? Everyone who watches it either loves it or hates it? I'm there!

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