REVIEWED
4/21/07

STORY



LOOK



Magic
Director: Richard Attenborough
Year: 1978
TRT: 1:47


Interesting to take a look back at this. Maybe it was the Saturday Night Movie (late-night or otherwise) that I'd seen this flick. No idea who the hell Anthony Hopkins or Ann-Margret were at the time. I just remember a pretty freaky flick about a ventriloquist. Seeing it again now, well, it's aged a bit. Certain psychological "phenomenon" have become a bit more explored since this incarnation, so it leaves the viewer having a good leg-up on what's coming next. Or do you?

An amateur magician, not quite the showman he wants to be, is devastated when his mentor finally comes to pass. Instilled with the final wisdom of knowing he's got tremendous talent, Corky ends up eventually being discovered as not only a good magician but a great performer. Trouble is, how well-known does he want to be?

This is a drama/horror picture, I guess, if you choose to categorize it. An alright turn by the relatively fresh Hopkins doing what he does best, fucking with not only your mind but his own as well. Still comes off as a pretty average thriller, fairly telegraphed. Good performances by all the majors make it at least a worthwhile revisiting, with solid direction by Attenborough. Makes it kind of hard to throw out some drunkenly-logicked cracks, apparently I need to pick up some Tequila.

Great Scenes: Initial 360 of the environment which produces said magician. Also the showdown between Corky and his manager (nicely played by Burgess Meredith, looking ancient even here).

DVD Notes: Nice, simple, creepy menu that utilizes the best of the score. Widescreen presentation of the film that's been beautifully redistributed in this digital format by Blue Underground. There's a pretty in-depth look at the subject matter as well with a 27 minute docu about ventriloquism and the "man behind the puppet" so to speak (nicely done by Dennis Alwood). Also included is a pretty kick-ass interview with the Cinematographer Victor J. Kemper (check his creds at IMDB, he's worked some pretty impressive films) on how he was challenged to set the mood and the goings-on that affected how he lit the film. Great radio interview with Anthony Hopkins who really started out as a true introvert, great perspective to see what he's accomplished since. Ann-Margret make-up test, theatrical trailer, and various stills are also included. Holy crap, there's more! An Italian interview with Hopkins, some radio and TV spots to boot. Great presentation of all.