So right here we go, the most effective 10 motion pictures 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 function movies which have magical themes or very apparent magical references in them. After all the rash of Harry Potter movies, the superb Lord of the Rings trilogy and even Star Wars may very well be included. Nonetheless, from a need to broaden the listing of magician impressed or magically themed motion pictures I’ve left these out as being ‘too apparent’.
For causes of brevity I’ve additionally not included totally animated motion pictures on this listing, so the likes of Fantasia, Sword within the Stone and even The Illusionist (Sylvian Chomet’s 2010 movie) should not thought of.
I’ve additionally ignored tv collection, comparable to The Magician (Invoice Bixby educated by Mark Wilson), Jonathan Creek, the quirky 1970’s TV collection Ace of Wands in addition to particular Colombo, Midsummer Murders, One Foot within the Grave episodes that have been primarily based 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 exterior the High Ten – not due to any lack of high quality, simply because they’re a little bit peripheral to the primary listing.
Passport to Pimlico (1949) directed by Henry Cornelius and that includes nice performances from Stanley Holloway and Margaret Rutherford. This nice Ealing comedy incorporates a sequence on the tube prepare 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 collection of tales a few dream informed by a visitor arriving at distant farmhouse. The movie is alleged 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. Nonetheless the film incorporates a narrative a few 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 listing, Magic, starring Anthony Hopkins.
Thirty 9 Steps (1939) directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The unique and maybe biggest 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 will be thought of 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 good Vincent Worth, Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff as medieval magicians concerned a magical duel. This enjoyable, camp and vibrant film loosely primarily based on the Edgar Allen Poe poem The Raven, is just not the best instance of the Corman-Worth 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 youngsters’s social gathering. The dialog which then ensues between the psychologist and the magician holds inside it a bunch of efficiency frames and concepts for budding bizarrists on the market!. Tourneur apparently by no means needed the viewers to ‘see’ the demon. I some ways I want he had had his method. The movie could be even creepier and scarier if the phobia was left to the creativeness – once more weird magicians take word!
The Magician (1958) directed by Ingmar Bergman. The one motive that movie is exterior the highest ten is due to the potential of being thought of as being ‘pretentious’ whether it is positioned the place I feel it belongs – within the high 5 a minimum of! 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….. nicely the entire thing is multilayered. Sydow is sensible, he hardly ever speaks, and Bergman’s visuals are nice. The movie has been known as a ‘pondering 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 primarily based 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 longer term and disguises his present by working as a lounge magician. Cage is seen as one other form 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 obtained the most effective of critiques. As I’ve not seen it but I can not remark – however perhaps a future evaluation of this listing may 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 a lot 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 function cease body, time lapse and a number of exposures. He additionally hand painted lots 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 amazing magician however an amazing entrepreneur embraced early cinema however to be fairly sincere he made little lasting contribution to cinematic artwork. In some methods, maybe, Melies earlier ‘trick images’ lessened a number of the dramatic influence Houdini’s reside performances may have had.
8. Lord of Illusions (1995) directed by Clive Barker and primarily based on his novel of the identical identify. This movie is notable for its magical references. Not solely does the ‘evil’ lead character Nix have supernatural powers, however his disciples have them. One in all 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 nicely completed, there’s a cameo look by the good Billy McCombe and the Magic Citadel is represented as a spot of secrets and techniques. The fundamental idea that ‘magic is a harmful actuality’ is a superb theme for the Weird Magicians on the market.
7. Solid 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 frequent place. He’s recruited by a wealthy man to discover a misplaced e book – yeap, you have 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 filled with Lovecraftian references. Sadly on the time of writing it, not like 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 Solid a Lethal Spell through 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 listing, 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 dwelling. The story revolves round Kandiski’s need to ‘chase another secret’ and do one ‘remaining 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 biggest 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. After all the magicians on the market will instantly see a hyperlink to a performer who used to exit below the identify Rinaldo, however was higher identified professionally and now to mentalists’ world large as Stanton Carlisle. (1928 – 1990). Stanton insisted, regardless of many good natured challenges, that that was his actual identify and was not influenced by the Goulding movie.
4. Home of Video games (1978) directed by David Mamet. OK probably not a magic movie, however includes a efficiency of one among my all time magic heroes, Ricky Jay. Ricky is one among a bunch of con-men on this Hitchcockesque thriller. Mamet, as all the time does an amazing job in capturing temper and the film explores human motivations and behaviours. Ricky Jay is after all no stranger to the large display screen, with roles within the Bond Film, Tomorrow By no means Dies, Magnolia, Buck Howard, The Status and plenty of extra. This, I imagine nonetheless was his first enterprise onto the ‘large display screen’
3. Houdini (1953) directed by George Marshall with Tony Curtis in as Houdini. This film does have so much to reply for in that it creates a number of the longer lasting myths in regards to the lifetime of the genuinely ‘mythic’ Houdini. His demise on stage because of performing the ‘water torture cell’ is just not truth, however the film actually hints at it. The ‘brush with demise’ in a frozen river; the primary efficiency of the ‘straight jacket’ at a Magicians Society dinner virtually certainly 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 price 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 car by means of which one other story will 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 along with his dummy ‘Fat’. It is a traditional 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 forged. 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 interesting 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 nicely definitely worth the little effort it’s essential sustain with the tangled internet of intrigue. The ‘status’, the finale of the movie, incorporates revelations that 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 hen cage!
I actually cannot separate these two movies when it comes to high quality of performing, route and story so that they share first place billing with the much less severe….
Magicians (2007) really deserves a Gold Star on this listing. 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 drive. 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 offered by well-known magic sellers.