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H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Chandu the Magician [Blu-ray]


(William C. Menzies, Marcel Varnel, 1932)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Fox Film Corporation

Video: Kino Lorber



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:11:30.077

Disc Size: 17,134,262,750 bytes

Feature Size: 15,586,947,072 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.64 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: August 23rd, 2016



Aspect ratio: 1.33:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1556 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1556 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps






• Audio Commentary by Bela Lugosi Biographer Gregory William Mank
Masters of Magic: The World of Chandu Featurette (15:17)
Restoration Comparison (1:20)
Trailers - The Black Sleep (1:36), White Zombie (2:46)





Description: Magic, mirth and mystery highlight this tale starring horror legend Bela Lugosi (Dracula, White Zombie) as an evil lunatic set on destroying mankind with a gigantic death-dealing device. Mankind's only hope is Frank Chandler, a.k.a. Chandu The Magician (Edmund Lowe, Dinner at Eight), who calls upon mystical abilities to fight the megalomaniacal fiend. Adapted from the popular broadcast serial, this creepy classic conjures action and excitement at every turn. Co-starring Irene Ware (The Raven) - Directed by William Cameron Menzies (The Maze, Thing to Come) and Marcel Varnel (Convict 99).



The Film:

Roxor, a baleful character whose behavior may be described with the simple information that Bela Lugosi plays the part, is a madman who wants to possess himself of a death ray and destroy the world. The ray is the invention of a certain Robert Regent, traveling in Egypt with his family. Chandu, an adventurer turned Yogi, shows up in time to prevent the annihilation of the entire family and to battle Roxor all over Egypt in the process of saving the world from extinction. Although Chandu, like a good Yogi, is indifferent to all earthly things, his indifference does not keep him from loving and ultimately wedding the Princess Nadji, another imperiled damsel.

Excerpt from the NY Times HERE


All in all, with its narrow escapes and cliffhanger derring do, and Lugosi firing on all engines, Chandu is a great undiscovered (for most of us) treat, playing like an excellent big budgeted condensed serial, layered with fun, menace, and intrigue. Some people have a problem with Edmund Lowe. Not me, I think he's great. He's no Gable or Grant, but he's cooler than Coleman.

Excerpt from Acidemic located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The single-layered Kino Lorber Blu-ray of Chandu the Magician looks wonderfully heavy and film-like in 1080P. It comes from the same restoration of almost a decade ago - and scratches and marks are still present - but the higher resolution adds texture and a quality that significantly advances upon the SD - notably in the contrast and detail in the thickness found in the many close-ups. I noticed no noise - not even in the many darker sequences. This Blu-ray gave me a very pleasing viewing in regards to the picture quality.





1) Fox (Fox Horror Classics Vol. 2) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM



1) Fox (Fox Horror Classics Vol. 2) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM



1) Fox (Fox Horror Classics Vol. 2) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM




1) Fox (Fox Horror Classics Vol. 2) - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Kino Lorber - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM




More Blu-ray Captures


















Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1556 kbps in the original English language. There are effects in the film - mostly the depth is noted in the score - created by a conglomeration of R.H. Bassett (The Prisoner of Shark Island), Peter Brunelli (The Big Trail), Louis De Francesco (a lot of documentary work) and Glen Knight (1931's The Spider). It sounds solid and supports the film very well. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

Duplicated extras from the 2008 Fox Horror Classics Collection Volume 2 DVD with the decent audio commentary by Bela Lugosi biographer Gregory William Mank who exports a lot of information and the 1/4 hour featurette; Masters of Magic: The World of Chandu and a short restoration comparison. Kino add trailers for The Black Sleep and White Zombie.



Chandu the Magician is a wonderful Fritz-Lang-esque vintage fantasy-adventure treat, filled with cliffhangers and supernatural hypnotic powers, kidnapping, poison, magical feats. Chandu benefits greatly from James Wong Howe's cinematography which adds some nice touches - plenty of shadowy atmosphere and some surpassingly impressive effects considering the age of the film. The Kino Lorber Blu-ray is great for fans who love this genre. The a/v is greatly improved from the SD and it's like stepping back in time to see this at the Bijou. The commentary adds further value. Certainly recommended!  NOTE: At the writing of this review it is 45% OFF at Amazon.

Gary Tooze

August 20th, 2016



About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze






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