Thursday, October 4, 2012

Magic

Directed by: Richard Attenborough

Release Date: 1978

“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.” A very fitting tagline and succinct summary of Magic, this movie was entertaining, disturbing, and sad simultaneously.

Magic, a story about a man so far gone he doesn’t realize it, illustrates Anthony Hopkins acting chops so early in his career. Most movies in the seventies had this raw and visceral appeal that shocked and appalled audiences worldwide.  This movie was no different.  Sure not as intense as any of Wes Craven’s earlier works (think The Last House on the Left and The Hills Have Eyes) but still right in the same category.

Anthony Hopkins is Corky Withers, the shy and timid magician, who wants nothing more than to make his mentor proud. He takes his mentor’s advice literally when his mentor tells him, “You better find yourself some charm, kid” and builds himself a dummy named Fats.  Fats is the manifestation of Corky’s charm.  Corky becomes successful overnight and gets all the critical acclaim he’s always wanted.  Success comes too quickly and Corky retreats to high school crush Peggy Ann Snow’s (Ann-Margaret) family inn far from everything. Fats, however, cannot stand the attention Corky is bestowing upon Peggy and strikes when Corky least expects it.  Anthony Hopkins does a superb job at creating the duality of Fats and Corky.  The most memorable scene involves Fats playing a wild game of Simon Sez with Corky in which the game ends when Fats tells Corky, “Fats sez get a knife!”

All the performances in this film were top notch, especially Anthony Hopkins.  Ann-Margaret was stunning in her sweet and strong role of Peggy, Corky’s love interest. Additionally, Meredith Burgess was amazing as the rough but compassionate Ben Greene/Gangrene (Fats’ nickname for Ben).

The extras on this DVD are decent.  I would have to say the most appealing extra on the whole DVD was the documentary on ventriloquism. There is one Anthony Hopkins interview in which the interviewer spoke in both English and Spanish which is bizarre and at times annoying. Overall, this movie is definitely a lost gem and something that should be unearthed by audiences who enjoy Anthony Hopkins, thrillers, and horror films.

Below, the thriller for your enjoyment!