Magic in Cinema (III)

In this space we have already dealt more than once with the relationship between magic and the world of cinema, a symbiosis much more recurrent and prolific than it may seem, although it is often limited to the technical and visual effects section of films. Indeed: in a strict sense there are not, indeed, that many films with magicians or mentalists as its central axis, or at least which places illusionism as an important part of its plot. But stop whining: we’re talking about a very extensive field, with plenty of titles, more or less hidden, and an excellent list of actors who have given life to characters touched by our wand. You just have to dig a little…

 

Magic (1978)

 

We hadn’t need to dig too much, precisely, to find the two jewels of our last review: the 2006 harvest and its great The Prestige, by Christopher Nolan, and The Illusionist, by Neil Burger. Today we are going to take a look to tackle a production that, despite not being too well known, has a very interesting background and true first-class thinking minds. Thus, whereas The Prestige had Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale and Scarlett Johansson on the payroll, and The Illusionist had Edward Norton and Jessica Biel, Magic (yes, that simple, in case someone wanted the ideal title for this section ) headlines an interpreter who can occupy the screen as much as all these together… the great Anthony Hopkins. This film was directed by Richard Attenborough (A distant bridge, Gandhi), and incorporates a chilling soundtrack by master of masters Jerry Goldsmith. It is a strange film, both because of its theme (especially at that time) and because of the exceptionality that it represents in the global filmography of both the director and the main actor.

 

What a couple! And one of them is a trick himself…

 

Corky (a young Hopkins) is a mediocre assistant magician who wants to recover his love romance from high school. After failing miserably in his first solo performance before the public, he is given the opportunity to include a ventriloquist doll in his show, which, miraculously, boosts him to stardom. But something weird happens with that little inanimate being … Corky begins to believe that the doll itself comes alive, tricks  his mind, manipulates him and puts him at his mercy little by little…

 

The movie turns into creepiness quite fast…

 

Magic was neither a commercial nor critical success, but anyone who comes close to it now will find a very special tape, with good characters, a tense atmosphere à la Stephen King and an overwhelming Hopkins who steals the show acting with a piece of wood and a pile of rags… Thumbs up!