So right here we go, one of the best 10 films about ‘magic’ of ‘all time’. That is a tall order and can after all grow to be an inventory that will probably be challenged by many.
What I’ve tried to do is collate an inventory of flicks that characteristic movies which have magical themes or very apparent magical references in them. In fact the rash of Harry Potter movies, the wonderful Lord of the Rings trilogy and even Star Wars might be included. Nevertheless, from a need to broaden the checklist of magician impressed or magically themed films I’ve left these out as being ‘too apparent’.
For causes of brevity I’ve additionally not included absolutely animated films on this checklist, so the likes of Fantasia, Sword within the Stone and even The Illusionist (Sylvian Chomet’s 2010 movie) are usually not thought-about.
I’ve additionally ignored tv sequence, comparable to The Magician (Invoice Bixby educated by Mark Wilson), Jonathan Creek, the quirky 1970’s TV sequence Ace of Wands in addition to particular Colombo, Midsummer Murders, One Foot within the Grave episodes that have been based mostly round magic and magicians.
So this brings us to a fast round-up of a number of the better of the magician-in-the-movies movies I’m conscious of. Beginning with these simply outdoors the High Ten – not due to any lack of high quality, simply because they’re just a little peripheral to the primary checklist.
Passport to Pimlico (1949) directed by Henry Cornelius and that includes nice performances from Stanley Holloway and Margaret Rutherford. This nice Ealing comedy accommodates a sequence on the tube practice the place magician of the day The Nice Masoni, drops his case permitting his doves to flee including to the surreal nature of the comedian second.
Useless of Night time (1945) directed by Alberto Cavancanti is an excellent Ealing portmanteau horror film which contained a sequence of tales a couple of dream informed by a visitor arriving at distant farmhouse. The movie is claimed to have influenced cosmologists Hoyle, Gold and Bondi to develop the ‘regular state principle’. They have been impressed by the round nature of the movies narrative. Nevertheless the film accommodates a narrative a couple of ventriloquist and a lower than charming dummy. Ventriloquism is expounded to the magical arts, therefore its inclusion right here. The story is the forerunner of 1 that’s really within the checklist, Magic, starring Anthony Hopkins.
Thirty 9 Steps (1939) directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The unique and maybe best model of this movie the climax of which is takes place as in a theatre the place a ‘reminiscence man’ is performing. The Reminiscence Act could be thought-about as a subset of the magical artwork of Mentalism. The good magician Harry Lorraine is world well-known not just for his ‘magic’ act but additionally for his contribution to the coaching and improvement of the human reminiscence.
The Raven (1963) directed by Roger Corman sees the nice Vincent Value, Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff as medieval magicians concerned a magical duel. This enjoyable, camp and vibrant film loosely based mostly on the Edgar Allen Poe poem The Raven, is just not the best instance of the Corman-Value assortment, however is nice enjoyable.
Night time of the Demon (1957) Jaques Tourneur. This nice film is an adaptation of M R James’ story “Casting the Runes”. Starring Dana Andrews as a sceptical psychologist ‘cursed’ by the Faustian trying magician and ‘cult’ chief Julian Karswell (Nial MacGinnis). In a single sequence Karswell dressed as Dr Bobo performs magic at a kids’s celebration. The dialog which then ensues between the psychologist and the magician holds inside it a number of efficiency frames and concepts for budding bizarrists on the market!. Tourneur apparently by no means wished the viewers to ‘see’ the demon. I some ways I want he had had his means. The movie can be even creepier and scarier if the fear was left to the creativeness – once more weird magicians take notice!
The Magician (1958) directed by Ingmar Bergman. The one motive that movie is outdoors the highest ten is due to the potential of being thought-about as being ‘pretentious’ whether it is positioned the place I feel it belongs – within the prime 5 not less than! Max von Sydow performs a travelling magician and ‘magnetic-healer’ (harkening again to the times of Mesmer) caught up in a story about prejudice, honesty, the category system and….. effectively the entire thing is multilayered. Sydow is sensible, he not often speaks, and Bergman’s visuals are nice. The movie has been known as a ‘considering mans horror film/. It’s creepy surreal and brilliantly acted and directed.
The Nice Buck Howard (2008) directed by Sean McGinly is constructed round John Malkovich’s character who’s in flip based mostly upon the mentalist Kreskin.
Subsequent (2007) directed by Lee Tamahori sees Nicholas Cage as a person who can see a couple of minutes into the long run and disguises his present by working as a lounge magician. Cage is seen as one other type of ‘magician’ within the fantasy film The Sorcerers Apprentice (2010 directed by Jon Turtletaub) which makes direct references to the Disney Sorcerers Apprentice in Fantasia.
Magic Man (2010) directed by Roscoe Lever stars Billy Zane who performs Darius, the Magic Man of the title. Billed as a thriller, this film hasn’t acquired one of the best of evaluations. As I’ve not seen it but I can not remark – however perhaps a future assessment of this checklist might even see it included.
So onto the High Ten
10. Excelsior Prince of Magicians 1901 directed by Georges Melies. This pioneer of movie making was a magician earlier than turning his hand to cine-magic. He produced many quick movies of which this is just one, however lots of which featured film variations of stage methods that magicians would love to have the ability to really do. He was one of many first movie makers to characteristic cease body, time lapse and a number of exposures. He additionally hand painted most of the black and white movies he shot. A real innovator.
9. The Grim Sport 1919 directed by Irvin Wilat. Not the best of flicks to observe, however from a magician’s perspective a should. It featured Harry Houdini within the title position showcasing his feats of escapology. Houdini, not solely an important magician however an important entrepreneur embraced early cinema however to be fairly sincere he made little lasting contribution to cinematic artwork. In some methods, maybe, Melies earlier ‘trick pictures’ lessened a number of the dramatic affect Houdini’s reside performances can have had.
8. Lord of Illusions (1995) directed by Clive Barker and based mostly on his novel of the identical title. This movie is notable for its magical references. Not solely does the ‘evil’ lead character Nix have supernatural powers, however his disciples have them. Certainly one of his disciples, Swann, after Nix’s early demise (previous to his later resurrection) makes use of his magical powers to grow to be a preferred illusionist. The staged magic sequences are effectively accomplished, there’s a cameo look by the nice Billy McCombe and the Magic Citadel is represented as a spot of secrets and techniques. The essential idea that ‘magic is a harmful actuality’ is a good theme for the Weird Magicians on the market.
7. Forged a Lethal Spell (1991) directed by Martin Cambell, sees Detective, Harry Philip Lovecraft (performed by Fred Ward) residing in a 1940’s Los Angeles the place magic is widespread place. He’s recruited by a wealthy man to discover a misplaced e book – yeap, you’ve got acquired it… The Necronomicon! It is actually a Bogart-esque film-noire with a magical flavour, after all by definition then there are magicians. It is witty, enjoyable and stuffed with Lovecraftian references. Sadly on the time of writing it, in contrast to its much less sharp sequel (Witch Hunt) is just not out there for buy on DVD.
Witch Hunt (1994) directed Paul Schrader. A sequel to Forged a Lethal Spell by which detective, H. Phillip Lovecraft performed by Dennis Hopper combats the evils and corruption of a magic wielding senator. As a sequel not shoddy, however maybe not fairly as enjoyable as the primary film.
6. The Nice Kandinski (1995) directed by Terry Windsor. This ‘made for TV’ film should be included on this checklist, not just for its attraction and humour, however for its sensitivities. Richard Harris (whose work is admirable) performs a retired escapologist residing in a nursing house. The story revolves round Kandiski’s need to ‘chase yet one more secret’ and do one ‘ultimate present’. The escape featured is Houdini’s Water Torture cell, which is a testomony to the long-lasting nature of that one phantasm.
5. Nightmare Alley (1947) directed by Edmund Goulding. A formidable film and maybe one of many all time best examples of movie noire. Tyrone Energy performs a ‘psychic con man’ Stanton Carlyle whose path of deceit and self deceit take from rags to riches to rags. In fact the magicians on the market will instantly see a hyperlink to a performer who used to exit underneath the title Rinaldo, however was higher identified professionally and now to mentalists’ world extensive as Stanton Carlisle. (1928 – 1990). Stanton insisted, regardless of many good natured challenges, that that was his actual title and was not influenced by the Goulding movie.
4. Home of Video games (1978) directed by David Mamet. OK not likely a magic movie, however contains a efficiency of one among my all time magic heroes, Ricky Jay. Ricky is one among a gaggle of con-men on this Hitchcockesque thriller. Mamet, as at all times does an important job in capturing temper and the film explores human motivations and behaviours. Ricky Jay is after all no stranger to the large display, with roles within the Bond Film, Tomorrow By no means Dies, Magnolia, Buck Howard, The Status and lots of extra. This, I consider nevertheless was his first enterprise onto the ‘large display’
3. Houdini (1953) directed by George Marshall with Tony Curtis in as Houdini. This film does have rather a lot to reply for in that it creates a number of the longer lasting myths concerning the lifetime of the genuinely ‘mythic’ Houdini. His demise on stage on account of performing the ‘water torture cell’ is just not truth, however the film definitely hints at it. The ‘brush with demise’ in a frozen river; the primary efficiency of the ‘straight jacket’ at a Magicians Society dinner virtually absolutely by no means occurred – however the romance and innocence of the second saves it. The magical advisor on this film was Dunninger.
I suppose it’s value mentioning in passing that in 1998 there was a TV film about Houdini (directed by Pen Denshem) and an earlier try at a biopic remake in 1976 with Paul Michael Glaser within the title position (directed for tv by Melvile Shavelson). The film Loss of life Defying Acts (2007) directed by Gillian Armstrong focuses on Houdini’s documented curiosity in mediums and psychics and he’s actually the automobile by means of which one other story could be informed.
2. Magic (1978) directed by Richard Attenborough and staring Anthony Hopkins. Within the movie Hopkins’ character begins out as a magician, however sees success as a ventriloquist. The film charts the autumn into madness as the connection Hopkins has together with his dummy ‘Fat’. It is a basic film with a number of the creepier overtones being softened by, what some declare to be, slower sequences of sentimentality.
1. The Illusionist (2006) directed by Neil Burger and staring Ed Norton. The tempo and the texture of this movie is great. It’s a love story with some nice performances from an excellent solid. The magical recommendation got here from Ricky Jay and Michael Webber. Norton as Eisenhiem is the perfect stage magician. The cinematography is sensible, the plot properly concerned and with, maybe a number of surprises.
1. The Status (2006) directed by Christopher Nolan. While The Illusionist is luxurious and fascinating and at its core ‘hopeful’ and ‘romantic’, The Status is darker and offers with revenge, envy and competitiveness. Nice performances from Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale because the feuding magicians every with a ‘secret’ and a story that’s non-linear make the movie participating and effectively well worth the little effort it is advisable sustain with the tangled net of intrigue. The ‘status’, the finale of the movie, accommodates revelations which will shock. Clever scripting brings the emotional stress to life and the wealthy magical references (Chung Ling Soo, The Bullet Catch, The Water Torture) make this movie a should for magicians. Ricky Jay seems as a longtime stage performer and Michael Caine is nice because the phantasm builder – though I might by no means ask him to construct me a vanishing fowl cage!
I actually cannot separate these two movies when it comes to high quality of performing, path and story in order that they share first place billing with the much less critical….
Magicians (2007) really deserves a Gold Star on this checklist. Directed by Andrew O Connor and with script written in collaboration with David Britland, Andy Nyman and Anthony Owen and others this can be a magical tour de power. Choosing a comic book have a look at the world of the magican, Magicians, sees Mitchell and Webb rattle by means of some nice one-liners; pay homage to some key magicians and have an actual knock at a number of the oddness that’s half and parcel of the magic scene. The good Pat Web page makes an look, and many of the magic ‘stalls’ on the magic conference internet hosting the competitors on the centre of the movies plot have been supplied by well-known magic sellers.