Home Book Review The Very best ten Motion pictures About Magic of All Time

The Very best ten Motion pictures About Magic of All Time


So listed here we go, the ideal ten videos about ‘magic’ of ‘all time’. That is a tall order and will of training course develop into a list that will be challenged by quite a few.

What I have tried using to do is collate a list of videos that aspect films which have magical themes or very noticeable magical references in them. Of training course the rash of Harry Potter films, the excellent Lord of the Rings trilogy and even Star Wars could be involved. Even so, from a motivation to expand the list of magician influenced or magically themed videos I have still left these out as remaining ‘too obvious’.

For explanations of brevity I have also not involved completely animated videos in this list, so the likes of Fantasia, Sword in the Stone and even The Illusionist (Sylvian Chomet’s 2010 film) are not considered.

I have also overlooked tv series, this kind of as The Magician (Invoice Bixby trained by Mark Wilson), Jonathan Creek, the quirky 1970’s Tv set series Ace of Wands as nicely as precise Colombo, Midsummer Murders, A single Foot in the Grave episodes that were being primarily based all around magic and magicians.

So this delivers us to a speedy round-up of some of the ideal of the magician-in-the-videos films I am informed of. Setting up with all those just exterior the Top Ten – not for the reason that of any deficiency of high quality, just for the reason that they are a very little peripheral to the most important list.

Passport to Pimlico (1949) directed by Henry Cornelius and showcasing great performances from Stanley Holloway and Margaret Rutherford. This great Ealing comedy has a sequence on the tube educate where magician of the working day The Excellent Masoni, drops his scenario letting his doves to escape incorporating to the surreal nature of the comic second.

Lifeless of Night time (1945) directed by Alberto Cavancanti is a outstanding Ealing portmanteau horror film which contained a series of tales about a dream explained to by a visitor arriving at remote farmhouse. The film is mentioned to have affected cosmologists Hoyle, Gold and Bondi to establish the ‘steady state theory’. They were being influenced by the round nature of the films narrative. Even so the film has a tale about a ventriloquist and a a lot less than charming dummy. Ventriloquism is linked to the magical arts, consequently its inclusion listed here. The tale is the forerunner of just one that is essentially in the list, Magic, starring Anthony Hopkins.

30 Nine Techniques (1939) directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The original and perhaps finest version of this film the climax of which is requires put as in a theatre where a ‘memory man’ is accomplishing. The Memory Act can be considered as a subset of the magical art of Mentalism. The great magician Harry Lorraine is earth famous not only for his ‘magic’ act but also for his contribution to the training and enhancement of the human memory.

The Raven (1963) directed by Roger Corman sees the great Vincent Value, Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff as medieval magicians involved a magical duel. This entertaining, camp and colourful film loosely primarily based on the Edgar Allen Poe poem The Raven, is not the finest case in point of the Corman-Value collection, but is great entertaining.

Night time of the Demon (1957) Jaques Tourneur. This great film is an adaptation of M R James’ tale “Casting the Runes”. Starring Dana Andrews as a sceptical psychologist ‘cursed’ by the Faustian on the lookout magician and ‘cult’ leader Julian Karswell (Nial MacGinnis). In just one sequence Karswell dressed as Dr Bobo performs magic at a children’s celebration. The dialogue which then ensues in between the psychologist and the magician holds within it a host of effectiveness frames and strategies for budding bizarrists out there!. Tourneur apparently under no circumstances required the audience to ‘see’ the demon. I quite a few means I want he had had his way. The film would be even creepier and scarier if the terror was still left to the creativity – all over again bizarre magicians take take note!

The Magician (1958) directed by Ingmar Bergman. The only rationale that film is exterior the top rated 10 is for the reason that of the chance of remaining considered as remaining ‘pretentious’ if it is placed where I believe it belongs – in the top rated 5 at minimum! Max von Sydow performs a travelling magician and ‘magnetic-healer’ (harkening back to the days of Mesmer) caught up in a tale about prejudice, honesty, the class system and….. nicely the complete thing is multilayered. Sydow is brilliant, he hardly ever speaks, and Bergman’s visuals are great. The film has been identified as a ‘thinking mans horror film/. It is creepy surreal and brilliantly acted and directed.

The Excellent Buck Howard (2008) directed by Sean McGinly is created all around John Malkovich’s character who is in turn primarily based on the mentalist Kreskin.

Up coming (2007) directed by Lee Tamahori sees Nicholas Cage as a person who can see a several minutes into the upcoming and disguises his reward by working as a lounge magician. Cage is witnessed as an additional kind of ‘magician’ in the fantasy film The Sorcerers Apprentice (2010 directed by Jon Turtletaub) which can make immediate references to the Disney Sorcerers Apprentice in Fantasia.

Magic Guy (2010) directed by Roscoe Lever stars Billy Zane who performs Darius, the Magic Guy of the title. Billed as a thriller, this film has not acquired the ideal of reviews. As I have not witnessed it nonetheless I won’t be able to comment – but it’s possible a upcoming evaluate of this list may perhaps see it involved.

So onto the Top Ten

ten. Excelsior Prince of Magicians 1901 directed by Georges Melies. This pioneer of film building was a magician in advance of turning his hand to cine-magic. He generated quite a few small films of which this is only just one, but quite a few of which highlighted film versions of stage methods that magicians would appreciate to be in a position to essentially do. He was just one of the initial film makers to aspect quit body, time lapse and multiple exposures. He also hand painted quite a few of the black and white films he shot. A legitimate innovator.

9. The Grim Game 1919 directed by Irvin Wilat. Not the finest of videos to enjoy, but from a magician’s point of see a have to. It highlighted Harry Houdini in the title role showcasing his feats of escapology. Houdini, not only a great magician but a great entrepreneur embraced early cinema but to be quite truthful he created very little long lasting contribution to cinematic art. In some means, perhaps, Melies earlier ‘trick photography’ lessened some of the dramatic effect Houdini’s dwell performances will have had.

eight. Lord of Illusions (1995) directed by Clive Barker and primarily based on his novel of the identical title. This film is notable for its magical references. Not only does the ‘evil’ guide character Nix have supernatural powers, but his disciples have them. A single of his disciples, Swann, soon after Nix’s early demise (prior to his later on resurrection) utilizes his magical powers to develop into a well known illusionist. The staged magic sequences are nicely accomplished, there is a cameo overall look by the great Billy McCombe and the Magic Castle is represented as a put of techniques. The basic principle that ‘magic is a harmful reality’ is a great concept for the Weird Magicians out there.

seven. Forged a Lethal Spell (1991) directed by Martin Cambell, sees Detective, Harry Philip Lovecraft (played by Fred Ward) living in a 1940’s Los Angeles where magic is popular put. He is recruited by a rich person to uncover a dropped ebook – yeap, you’ve got got it… The Necronomicon! It’s truly a Bogart-esque film-noire with a magical flavour, of training course by definition then there are magicians. It’s witty, entertaining and total of Lovecraftian references. Sad to say at the time of composing it, in contrast to its a lot less sharp sequel (Witch Hunt) is not accessible for obtain on DVD.

Witch Hunt (1994) directed Paul Schrader. A sequel to Forged a Lethal Spell in which detective, H. Phillip Lovecraft played by Dennis Hopper combats the evils and corruption of a magic wielding senator. As a sequel not shoddy, but perhaps not quite as entertaining as the initial film.

6. The Excellent Kandinski (1995) directed by Terry Windsor. This ‘made for TV’ film have to be involved in this list, not only for its allure and humour, but for its sensitivities. Richard Harris (whose do the job is admirable) performs a retired escapologist living in a nursing dwelling. The tale revolves all around Kandiski’s motivation to ‘chase just one additional secret’ and do just one ‘final show’. The escape highlighted is Houdini’s Drinking water Torture cell, which is a testomony to the legendary nature of that just one illusion.

5. Nightmare Alley (1947) directed by Edmund Goulding. An remarkable film and perhaps just one of the all time finest examples of film noire. Tyrone Electric power performs a ‘psychic con man’ Stanton Carlyle whose path of deceit and self deceit take from rags to riches to rags. Of training course the magicians out there will quickly see a connection to a performer who utilised to go out below the title Rinaldo, but was better regarded professionally and now to mentalists’ earth extensive as Stanton Carlisle. (1928 – 1990). Stanton insisted, even with quite a few superior natured worries, that that was his actual title and was not affected by the Goulding film.

four. House of Games (1978) directed by David Mamet. Okay not truly a magic film, but options a effectiveness of just one of my all time magic heroes, Ricky Jay. Ricky is just one of a team of con-adult males in this Hitchcockesque thriller. Mamet, as often does a great position in capturing mood and the film explores human motivations and behaviours. Ricky Jay is of training course no stranger to the big display, with roles in the Bond Movie, Tomorrow Never ever Dies, Magnolia, Buck Howard, The Status and quite a few additional. This, I consider on the other hand was his initial enterprise onto the ‘big screen’

3. Houdini (1953) directed by George Marshall with Tony Curtis in as Houdini. This film does have a good deal to reply for in that it results in some of the for a longer time long lasting myths about the daily life of the genuinely ‘mythic’ Houdini. His death on stage as a consequence of accomplishing the ‘water torture cell’ is not fact, but the film unquestionably hints at it. The ‘brush with death’ in a frozen river the initial effectiveness of the ‘straight jacket’ at a Magicians Modern society dinner pretty much surely under no circumstances transpired – but the romance and innocence of the second will save it. The magical advisor on this film was Dunninger.

I suppose it is value mentioning in passing that in 1998 there was a Tv set film about Houdini (directed by Pen Denshem) and an earlier try at a biopic remake in 1976 with Paul Michael Glaser in the title role (directed for tv by Melvile Shavelson). The film Dying Defying Functions (2007) directed by Gillian Armstrong focuses on Houdini’s documented curiosity in mediums and psychics and he is truly the car or truck by means of which an additional tale can be explained to.

two. Magic (1978) directed by Richard Attenborough and staring Anthony Hopkins. In the film Hopkins’ character commences out as a magician, but sees achievements as a ventriloquist. The film charts the drop into insanity as the marriage Hopkins has with his dummy ‘Fats’. It’s a typical film with some of the creepier overtones remaining softened by, what some declare to be, slower sequences of sentimentality.

1. The Illusionist (2006) directed by Neil Burger and staring Ed Norton. The rate and the sense of this film is amazing. It is a appreciate tale with some great performances from a outstanding solid. The magical information arrived from Ricky Jay and Michael Webber. Norton as Eisenhiem is the great stage magician. The cinematography is brilliant, the plot properly involved and with, perhaps a several surprises.

1. The Status (2006) directed by Christopher Nolan. Although The Illusionist is luxurious and participating and at its main ‘hopeful’ and ‘romantic’, The Status is darker and specials with revenge, envy and competitiveness. Excellent performances from Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale as the feuding magicians every with a ‘secret’ and a narrative that is non-linear make the film participating and nicely value the very little effort and hard work you need to have to preserve up with the tangled world wide web of intrigue. The ‘prestige’, the finale of the film, has revelations that may perhaps shock. Intelligent scripting delivers the emotional tension to daily life and the rich magical references (Chung Ling Soo, The Bullet Capture, The Drinking water Torture) make this film a have to for magicians. Ricky Jay appears as an recognized stage performer and Michael Caine is great as the illusion builder – even though I would under no circumstances check with him to construct me a vanishing bird cage!

I truly won’t be able to different these two films in conditions of high quality of acting, route and tale so they share initial put billing with the a lot less serious….

Magicians (2007) essentially justifies a Gold Star in this list. Directed by Andrew O Connor and with script written in collaboration with David Britland, Andy Nyman and Anthony Owen and other people this is a magical tour de drive. Opting for a comic seem at the earth of the conjuror, Magicians, sees Mitchell and Webb rattle by means of some great just one-liners pay out homage to some crucial magicians and have a actual knock at some of the oddness that is part and parcel of the magic scene. The great Pat Web page can make an overall look, and most of the magic ‘stalls’ at the magic convention web hosting the competitiveness at the centre of the films plot were being provided by nicely regarded magic dealers.

By Alan B Jones

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