Trapped in an abandoned castle and forced to make synthetic diamonds, a scientist responsible for the hydrogen bomb is enslaved by gangsters looking to make millions from the man-made gems.
In 1954, that sounded like mad science. In 2024, it’s reality. Man-made diamonds exist, and like in The Diamond Wizard, they’re near imperceptible in their differences. Watching a US Treasury agent team up with Scotland Yard to track the artificial stones seems almost absurd now, doubly so considering Diamond Wizard begins producing a body count.
Diamond Wizard is notable only for its 3D
Diamond Wizard is notable only for its 3D
Comprised mostly of static office conversations, there isn’t much excitement in this project. It’s often dull, and what passes for high technology – from fingerprint examinations to deducing what was written on overlaid pieces of paper – doesn’t have the same interest it once did. Undoubtedly, the same will ring true for the litany of DNA forensic-based dramas once the next investigative leap occurs.
Stars Dennis O’Keefe and Philip Friend, the lead detectives, lack any distinct personalities; they play their parts as if stock TV gumshoes. The people and world around them also fail in producing anything memorable, other than familiar shots of landmarks and generic gangsters.
Diamond Wizard is notable only for its 3D. The first British two camera 3D production, Diamond Wizard was never actually distributed in the format during its theatrical run. That’s a shame, given the fun gimmickry is the sole reason to watch this tired international detective drama. When characters throw objects toward the camera, 2D loses all of the intended impact.
What’s left is mundane, if thankfully brief. The only action happens in the final act, with O’Keefe and Friend climbing around the now ridiculous fake diamond-making device that looks like something from a ‘30s adventure serial, flames spouting from multiple exhaust vents. There’s inarguable kitsch value here, especially from the dated dialog that like the main diamond-making set, has an equally ‘30s like slant. It’s almost a shame Diamond Wizard didn’t go further with such enjoyable chatter.
A generous and crisp grain structure is preserved gorgeously. Encoding doesn’t cause any problems. The source print, with occasional scratches and dings, looks well preserved. Diamond Wizard isn’t flush with definition, but does define the imagery enough to display sharpness aplenty. Luckily, it’s stable in terms of gate weave and other possible faults.
Stable gray scale lacks the deepest shadows or brightest whites, settling into rudimentary mid-tones. It’s enough to suggest depth, if lacking in the firmest tones.
Like many ’50s era 3D presentations, Diamond Wizard displays splendid depth and natural dimensionality. Fall-in effects remain sustained, enlivening even the dullest dialog scenes. There’s consideration to the technology, including carefully posed foreground objects. More impressive though is how natural this looks, from faces that appear wholly real, whether it’s hair extending from the forehead even the slightest, and it’s precise enough to create depth even within an open mouth.
Diamond Wizard has its fun with the tech, throwing things at the screen, but also using the camera to shower the screen with sparks, embers, or other such objects. It’s fun, and the deep separation between foreground and background is consistently extreme in the best way. Sustained vertical scratches cause the only impediment, throwing off the depth just enough to distract.
Often scratchy and continuing with an undercurrent of static, Diamond Head’s DTS-HD 2.0 mono track is decent enough, considering. Dialog often carries a rough noise, especially at the highest points. A lot of the lines sound as if they come with a digital lisp.
Still, the score sounds clean, producing slight low-end.
Mike Ballew provides the commentary, with an alternate opening (2D only), trailer (also 2D), and a restoration featurette (3D) make up the bonuses.
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The Diamond Wizard
A routine procedural, Diamond Wizard is more notable for its 3D than anything in its story.
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