Mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm make your mind up fast
If you want it anytime, I can give it
But you better hurry 'cause it may not last
Did I hear you say that there must be a catch?
Will you walk away from a fool and his money?
Sonny, if you want it, here it is, come and get it
But you better hurry 'cause it's going fast!"
The Magic Christian is a 1969 film based on Terry Southern's 1959 book of the same name, starring Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr. Before you ask, the name is taken from a boat, and has nothing to do with magic Christians.
Sellers plays Sir Guy Grand, a billionaire who wants to have some fun. He adopts the homeless Youngman Grand (Ringo Starr), and together they set out to see what lengths people will go to for money. The answer is, pretty far.
Features cameos by Graham Chapman and John Cleese (who also wrote additional material for the script), before Monty Python had really taken off. Spike Milligan also appears, in a suitably surreal scene, alongside fellow Goon Sellers.
This work contains the following examples:
- Briefcase Full of Money: Used to bribe other people to participate in Guy Grand's schemes and a symbol for greed in general.
- The Cameo: Spike Milligan, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Roman Polański, Yul Brynner, Christopher Lee, Richard Attenborough, Spike Milligan, Raquel Welch... plus numerous other well-known performers (at least to British audiences).
- Canon Foreigner: Ringo Starr's character did not appear in the original novel.
- Comedic Sociopathy
- Crossdresser: Played by Yul Brynner, of all people.
- Eccentric Millionaire: Actually a billionaire.
- Every Man Has His Price: Whether it be eating a parking ticket for £500 or £30,000 for the nose of a supposed Rembrandt. There are also unknown amounts in briefcases of money for messing with a Sotheby's auction, a Cambridge and Oxford boat race, the chaos aboard the Magic Christian among others. Also, they pay various wads of cash to random people to do whatever they want. At the end, (Squick alert) we find that people are willing to swim through blood, piss, and fecal matter for "free" money.
- Everyone Has Standards: When they bribe the traffic cop to eat the parking ticket, Guy tells the cop that he doesn't need to eat the plastic wrapping of the ticket (but eats it anyway).
- Gainax Ending: The entire film consists of Sellers' character bribing people to no advantage of his own, merely to exploit their weaknesses, in surreal, bizarre and nonsensical scenarios. But the voyage towards the end of the film takes the surrealism to another level, with transvestites, an attack, Dracula and King Kong, before the entire sequence is revealed to have taken place inside a warehouse.
- The "Punishment" scene in the train where Guy Grand and a group of asian men of different heights confuse the hell out of a millionaire who is then is taken away by Nazis.
- Also, the fake hijacking once on the ship.
- And most of the shenanigans on the ship.
- Man of Wealth and Taste
- Money Fetish
- Money to Throw Away: Guy Grand is so ridiculously wealthy that he can dispose of massive sums of money just to prove that people will do anything for it.
- More Dakka: The hunting scene in which Tommy Guns, tanks, and BFGs are used to hunt grouse.
- Opening Monologue: "Ladies and gentlemen, this is what is commonly known as money. It comes in all sizes, colours, and denominations, like people. We'll be using quite a bit of it in the next two hours; luckily, I have enough for all of us!"
- Repurposed Pop Song/Isn't It Ironic?: At the Turn of the Millennium, Pontiac used "Come and Get It" in an ad campaign for sports cars. Beyond the song itself being about greed, apparently, no one who worked on this campaign saw the movie, because if they had they would have known about the parody of cars as a status symbol early on (with Guy Grand presenting the concept of a new luxury car that's insanely big, ostentatious, and British).
- Rich Bitch: Most of the people upon the Magic Christian and the other millionaires Guy Grand surrounds himself with
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Also "Screw The Rules, I'm Getting Money!"
- Serial Escalation: How much will people debase themselves for cash? Turns out people will swim through shit for cash.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Hunting fowl with an antiaircraft gun.
- Troll: Guy Grand and Son.
- Upper-Class Twit: A few of Guy Grand's fellow millionaires fit the bill. Grand himself sometimes plays it up to put the targets of his trolling off guard.
- Unwinnable Training Simulation: The titular luxury cruiser? It's actually a warehouse.
- Vehicle Title: The Magic Christian is the name of the ship on which the movie is set.
- You Can Leave Your Hat On: In a Funny Background Event, Laurence Harvey performs Hamlet's "to be or not to be" soliloquy as a striptease.