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Magic Christian, The (1969)

Eccentric millionaire, Guy Grand (Peter Sellers) knows that most folk will do anything for money and sets out to prove it with the help of adopted hobo son, Youngman Grand (Ringo Starr), in this riotously funny satire written by Terry Southern and director McGrath, from Southern’s novel.

Sir Guy and his adoptive son proceed to test what people will do for money with a series of practical jokes and surrealist hoaxes . . .

At the theatre, Laurence Harvey combines his Hamlet recital with a striptease. When given a parking ticket by a traffic warden (Spike Milligan), he pays the warden £500 to eat the ticket. At Sotheby’s auction house, Guy buys a Rembrandt from the auction director and proceeds to destroy it buy cutting the nose out. He also buys off the Oxford boat race team and its manager (Richard Attenborough) into sabotaging Cambridge.

The beautiful people of London set sail down the Thames on the luxury liner The Magic Christian bound for New York, under the captaincy of drunken Reginald K. Klaus (Wilfred Hyde White) and powered by the Priestess of the Whip (Raquel Welch).

But the ship proves un-seaworthy when the ship’s vampire (Christopher Lee) makes his way to the bridge.

Ultimately, on the banks of the River Thames they build a cesspool of blood, urine and excrement, then throw money into it, offering it up for free to anyone prepared to fish it out.

Sellers gives a bright and stylish performance as the blimpish Sir Guy Grand, but Ringo Starr’s effort to project himself as a non-Beatle actor is a distinct non-event.

Paul McCartney lent a hand by writing and producing the sublime theme song, Come And Get It.

Sir Guy Grand KG, KC, CBE
Peter Sellers:
Youngman Grand, Esq
Ringo Starr
Dame Agnes Grand
Isabel Jeans
Hon Esther Grand
Caroline Blakiston
Oxford coach
Richard Attenborough
Laurence Faggot
Leonard Frey
Hamlet
Laurence Harvey
Ship’s vampire
Christopher Lee
Traffic warden #27
Spike Milligan
Solitary drinker
Roman Polanski
Priestess of the Whip
Raquel Welch
Hot dog vendor
Victor Maddern
Mad Major
Terence Alexander
Pompous Toff
Peter Bayliss
Auctioneer at Sotheby’s
Patrick Cargill
Mr Dougdale
John Cleese
Sommelier
Clive Dunn
Ginger Horton
Hattie Jacques
Lord Hampton
Jeremy Lloyd
Ship’s guide
David Lodge
Winthrop
Dennis Price
Sir Herbert
Roland Culver
Sir John
John Le Mesurier
Sir Lionel
Michael Trubshawe
Transvestite cabaret singer
Yul Brynner
Capt Reginald K Klaus
Wilfrid Hyde-White
John Lennon
Himself

Director
Joseph McGrath

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