“Magic” (1978) starring Anthony Hopkins, Ann-Margret & Burgess Meredith / Z-View

Magic (1978)

Director:  Richard Attenborough

Screenplay by:  William Goldman based on his novel MAGIC.

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Ann-Margret, Burgess Meredith, Ed Lauter, E.J. André, David Ogden Stiers, Jerry Houser, Lillian Randolph, Beverly Sanders and Steve Hart.

Tagline: Abracadabra, I sit on his knee. Presto chango, and now he is me. Hocus Pocus, we take her to bed. Magic is fun; we’re dead.

The Story: 

Charles “Corky” Withers (Hopkins) is a failed magician.  Nerves got the best of him when he was on stage.  So Corky developed a new act.  He performs as a ventriloquist with a dirty-mouth, wisecracking dummy named Fats.  Corky is on the verge of a huge deal for a television special and more.  The only hitch is that the producers are demanding Corky get the usual medical check-ups.

And THAT is a deal breaker.

You see, Corky isn’t in his right mind.  Just ask Fats.  He’ll tell ya.

Thoughts (beware of spoilers)

I saw Magic when it was first released.  My girlfriend (now my wife) really liked it.  I found Magic to be just okay.  I recently re-watched Magic and my opinion of it improved.

Richard Attenborough perhaps best known as Hammond in Jurassic Park directed Magic. You might think that the director of A Bridge Too Far, Ghandi and A Chorus Line would be an odd choice for a small horror/suspense film, but Attenborough does a fine job,

Anthony Hopkins is marvelous as the tormented talent.  Burgess Meredith goes low-key as Corky’s flashy manager. Their “five minute” scene is a standout.  Ann Margaret downplays the make-up and glamour. She’s still a looker.  Ed Lauter gets to show off his acting chops as Ann Margaret’s about-to-be-jilted husband.  His scene with Hopkins in the rowboat is another movie highlight.

My biggest nit-to-pick is that Ann Margaret’s character should have seen the signs that Corky wasn’t all there. Most folks would counter that she couldn’t see past the bad relationship with her husband, and Corky, her high school sweetheart was a way out.