Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Filmed in Germany (where it was released in 1954), Republic's Magic Fire is the life story of controversial 19th century composer Richard Wagner. Alan Badel comes off more as villain than hero as Wagner, which though historically accurate makes it hard for the audience to pull for the central character. Wagner's bizarre relationship with Ludwig II (Gerhard Riedmann), the "mad king" of Bavaria, is downplayed, while the composer's vitriolic anti-semitism is ignored altogther. The women in Wagner's life are played by Yvonne de Carlo, Valentine Cortese and Rita Gam, while Carlos Thompson does the "best friend/severist critic" bit as fellow composer Franz Liszt. Dramatically uneven, Magic Fire is rescued by Erich Wolfgang Korngold's orchestrations of Wagner's most famous operatic and symphonic works.
composer, fire, magic