Hollywood is always looking to mine classic stories for modern film-going audiences. Most recently was Disney’s ‘John Carter’, which was based on a series of Edgar Rice Burroughs stories from the early 1900s. According to THR, the latest pulp hero that may be headed to the big screen is Mandrake the Magician.
Mandrake the Magician was created in 1934 by Lee Falk. With his companion, Lothar the strongman, by his side, Mandrake used his stage magic and super hypnotic abilities to fight crime. Being a hero in the era of pulp novels, Mandrake battled the usual menagerie of gangsters, aliens, and the like.
This isn’t the first time that Hollywood has tapped Mandrake for film. In the late 1930s, Columbia made a 12-part film serial. Mandrake returned in 1954 and 1979 for a couple of made-for-TV films. Since that last outing, the character has laid dormant for nearly thirty years.
Warner Brothers has teamed up with Atlas Entertainment, who has had the film rights to Mandrake since 2009, to try yet again to make movie magic. According to THR, Warner Brothers’ idea is to reboot the franchise in the same modernized action vein as the recent Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey Jr. WB is currently seeking writers for the project.
Personally, I’d rather see something a little more noir and pulp with Mandrake but, if an action thriller is what we’ll get, I’ll take it. Maybe if Mandrake is a hit, Hollywood will head back to more pulp heroes. I would kill to see The Shadow on the big screen again!