Friday, May 23, 2008

Magicians of India

I bought this film at an antique store recently. Magicians of India, Official Films - No. 615, 16mm. The box pictured is just over 3¾" square.

Unfortunately, I don't really have a way to watch it. I have access to a 16mm projector, but last time I tried to use it with a film, I couldn't get it to work and it even chewed up some of the film in the attempt. But it's a cool box, and that's what I bought it for, to have on a shelf. I like India, magicians, gurus, fakirs, snake charmers, all that.

I see there are a couple of descriptions of this film online.

The first one says: "Magicians of India -- Out in the open, without screens, mirrors or confederates, they work their wonders. The string trick; watch him break it, burn it, then pull it out whole! The coin that slides uphill! The toy bird that becomes nine living ones! The mountain goat turned flag-pole sitter! The mango seed that grows before your eyes! Lifting a stone with the eye-lids! Even in India they have the shell game! The snake charmer hypnotizing the most deadly of all reptiles- the king cobra! A sting and you have 50 seconds to live! Regular 8mm / b & w / silent 1-reeler 200-foot-reel edition from Official Films, $8." So I guess at that site they sell you the film version of it instead of it being on a DVD. That's pretty cool.

The second one is equally interesting, but this one looks like it's from someone who simply collects films and tells about them online: "Magicians of India (1947) Official Films -- Pictures a series of strange feats performed by the fakirs or magicians of India. Includes the Indian version of the shell game, a snake charmer, a trained goat and a man who lifts a stone with his eye-lids. I've got a pretty jaded bunch that watch films and they weren't buying most of these magic tricks. The best scenes were the trained goat that balanced on a tiny peg that was probably three inches in diameter and the guy who lifted stones with his eyelids. This reminded me of a great Penn and Teller DVD, Penn & Teller's Magic and Mystery Tour, where the duo watch street magicians in China, India and Egypt."

Each description gives a pretty good description of what's on the film. Sounds good!

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