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A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California


Amphibians In Movies





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Chandu the Magician (1932)
 
Spoiler Alert !

Some of these pictures and descriptions may give away plot details that you might not want to know before watching the film.
 
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This movie was based on a very popular radio serial of the 1930s. It was co-directed by the amazing set designer William Cameron Menzies and the sets, the lighting and the cinematography are outstanding. The special effects are also great for 1932. Bela Lugosi outshines everybody else in the movie, so people think it's a horror movie, but it's really an action adventure. If you want to see a major influences on adventure movies such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, check this one out.

Chandu is an American man who studied magic in India and developed "the power of Shiva." He is initiated into the sacred company of the Yogi and demonstrates his abilities with the Indian rope trick, walking through fire, and projecting his image. Chandu can create illusions, but his primary power lies in his ability to hypnotize people with his eyes. His teacher charges him to go into the word and "conquer the evils that threaten mankind." He starts by going to Egypt to help his sister find her missing husband, the scientist Robert Regent, who has developed a death ray. An evil madman named Roxor (Bela Lugosi) stole it and kidnapped Robert to make him explain how it works. He refuses to tell Roxor, so the madman kidnaps Robert's daughter Betty Lou and threatens to sell her at a slave auction unless he talks. Chandor, in disguise as an old man, sneaks in and bids high for Betty Lou and pays the auctioneer with a bag full of coins. But after Chandor escapes with the girl, the auctioneer pours out the coins onto a table to show them to Roxor, but he discovers that he was tricked by Chandor's magic and the coins are really toads.

The toads look like California toads, a large adult and a bunch of newly-metamorphosed toadlets.
 

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