The Return of Chandu is a 1934 American 12 episode fantasy film serial based on the radio series Chandu the Magician. It was produced by Sol Lesser and directed by Ray Taylor, and starred Béla Lugosi as Frank Chandler (aka Chandu the Magician). The serial was originally released to be booked by theaters in any one of three ways: as a conventional serial of twelve chapters of equal running times; as a 60-minute feature film comprising the first four episodes, to be followed by the remaining 8 episodes in serial format; or as a stand-alone feature (the fourth episode ends not with a cliffhanger, but with an apparent resolution to the story). In 1935, the remaining 8 episodes of the serial were also edited into a feature film, of 65 minutes, released as Chandu on the Magic Island. This serial marked one of the few times that Lugosi played a protagonist rather than an antagonist: in fact, Lugosi had played the main villain, Roxor, in the 1932 film, Chandu the Magician.
Frank Chandler (Béla Lugosi in a rare heroic role): a powerful but kind man who has spent most of his life in the Orient, where he is renowned under the name of “Chandu the Magician” for his tremendous skill with White Magic. He is in love with the Princess Nadji of Egypt, who has lately escaped to America and is now staying with the Chandler family at their home in Beverly Hills, California. Princess Nadji believes she has left her troubles behind in Egypt, but when the Chandlers hold a party in her honor, she learns that her life is still in jeopardy, as are the lives of her friends. Chandu, presently arriving home from Egypt himself, is pursued by enemies at the airport, and escapes only by using his magic ring. At the party, some shady guests conspire to poison Princess Nadji, and Chandu arrives just in time to snatch the glass of deadly wine out of her hand.
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