Magic (DVD Review)9 Mar, 2006 By: Stephanie Prange
Prebook 3/20/06; Street 4/25/06
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.