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Magic (DVD Review)

9 Mar, 2006 By: Stephanie Prange


Prebook 3/20/06; Street 4/25/06
$19.98 DVD
Rated 'R.'
Stars Anthony Hopkins, Burgess Meredith, Ann-Margret, David Ogden Stiers.

Folks old enough to remember the late 1970s may recall the advertising for this creepy film about a ventriloquist losing his mind. It included the line spoken in closeup by the dummy, Fats: “Abracadabra, I sit on his knee. Presto, change-o, and now he's me! Hocus Pocus, we take her to bed. Magic is fun … we're dead.”

What some may forget is how skillfully director Richard Attenborough unfolded this suspense thriller, and that such luminaries as Hopkins, Ann-Margret and Meredith also starred. William Goldman wrote the screenplay.

The story follows a magician, Corky, whose career finally takes off when he employs the gimmick of a rather crude talking dummy dubbed Fats. Balking at success and struggling with inner demons — not the least of which is his schizophrenic relationship with Fats — Corky travels to his remote hometown to look up an old sweetheart (Ann-Margret).

Decades later, the film still plays well.

Hopkins is a big draw. His career has taken off since this early effort.

The DVD includes a “Fats & Friends” featurette, Interviews with Hopkins and the cinematographer, an Ann-Margret makeup test, and TV and radio spots.

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