Magic – DVD
Dark Sky Films
Magic, a film originally released in 1978, tells the story of Corky (Anthony Hopkins) who is a struggling magician trying to make it in show business and make his mentor proud. He is painfully shy, which of course hinders his performances. It isn’t until he gets the idea to mix his magic shows with a ventriloquist act that people start to take notice of him. His dummy, Fats, is the star of the show and it is through him that Corky is able to come out of his shell. He is on the verge of a TV deal when his world starts to fall apart. His agent (Burgess Meredith) informs him the TV studio requires him to take a medical exam as a requirement for the contract they are offering. Corky steadfastly refuses and freaks out about it and decides to run away and go into hiding in an effort to clear his head. He brings Fats with him and they stumble across an old resort in a town near where he grew up.
The resort is run by Peg (Ann Margret) who was the woman Corky was in love with back in high school but too shy to ever make a move on. She is in a failing marriage and is pretty unhappy with her current life situation. Her and Corky end up getting together and she plans to leave her husband (and Corky plans to leave Fats, the dummy, behind) and run off and start a new life. It really looks like Corky’s dreams are going to come true, but it isn’t long before Corky’s agent finds him and realizes why he was so against the medical exam. Corky is schizophrenic! The dummy is really his split personality and it is starting to take over his life. This starts a tragic turn of events in Corky’s life as the dummy takes over and he tries to prevent his secret from getting out. The whole things comes to a head with a somewhat unexpected ending.
In this film, Anthony Hopkins did all his own ventriloquist work and he did a great job, it was very impressive. You really do feel like Fats is a real character at times. The movie is at times funny, violent, and sad. The story was really well told and it was an enjoyable film from start to finish. In fact the time flew by because the pacing was pretty good and there were no dull moments or scenes that dragged on too far.
The movie is presented in anamorphic widescreen with a 1.85:1 aspect ratio and the high definition transfer from the original negative came out rather well. I noticed no major flaws or distractions in the film. The sound was the original mono soundtrack and sounds very good and the mix is pretty even. The movie is about 105 minutes long and there are a couple of nice bonus features on the disc. The first bonus feature deals with ventriloquists and Fats in the film and was pretty interesting. There is an interview with Victor Kemper, who was the cinematographer for the film and an interview with Anthony Hopkins at the time of the film talking about his training for throwing his voice and working the dummy. A radio interview with Hopkins, some footage of Ann Margret’s make-up test and the theatrical trailer round out the rest of the bonus features.
Having never heard of this movie before, I was quite surprised by how much I liked it. It really is an enjoyable couple of hours and props to Anthony Hopkins for doing such a great job and doing all the ventriloquist work himself. I’m surprised it took this long for the movie to finally come out on DVD, especially considering the rather well-known cast.