So here we cross, the nice 10 movies about ‘magic’ of ‘all time’. That’s a tall order and will of path grow to be a list with a purpose to be challenged by many.
What I have attempted to do is collate a listing of movies that characteristic films which have magical subject matters or very apparent magical references in them. Of path the rash of Harry Potter movies, the remarkable Lord of the Rings trilogy or even Star Wars could be protected. However, from a desire to extend the list of magician inspired or magically themed films I even have left these out as being ‘too obvious’.
For reasons of brevity I actually have also now not covered completely animated films on this listing, so the likes of Fantasia, Sword within the Stone or even The Illusionist (Sylvian Chomet’s 2010 film) are not taken into consideration.
I’ve additionally left out television collection, which include The Magician (Bill Bixby trained by Mark Wilson), Jonathan Creek, the quirky 1970’s TV collection Ace of Wands in addition to particular Colombo, Midsummer Murders, One Foot in the Grave episodes that were primarily based round magic and magicians.
So this brings us to a short round-up of a number of the high-quality of the magician-in-the-movies films I am aware of. Starting with the ones just outside the Top Ten – no longer due to any loss of satisfactory, simply due to the fact they’re a little peripheral to the primary listing.
Passport to Pimlico (1949) directed by Henry Cornelius and providing extraordinary performances from Stanley Holloway and Margaret Rutherford. This exceptional Ealing comedy includes a series on the tube educate wherein magician of the day The Great Masoni, drops his case permitting his doves to break out adding to the surreal nature of the comic moment.
Dead of Night (1945) directed via Alberto Cavancanti is a amazing Ealing portmanteau horror movie which contained a chain of testimonies about a dream instructed by means of a guest arriving at far flung farmhouse. The movie is said to have stimulated cosmologists Hoyle, Gold and Bondi to increase the ‘constant nation theory’. They had been stimulated by using the round nature of the movies narrative. However the film carries a story approximately a ventriloquist and a much less than charming dummy. Ventriloquism is associated with the magical arts, therefore its inclusion right here. The tale is the forerunner of one that is without a doubt within the listing, Magic, starring Anthony Hopkins.
Magicien Monaco directed by way of Alfred Hitchcock. The authentic and possibly greatest version of this film the climax of that is takes region as in a theatre wherein a ‘reminiscence guy’ is performing. The Memory Act may be taken into consideration as a subset of the magical art of Mentalism. The brilliant magician Harry Lorraine is international famous no longer handiest for his ‘magic’ act however also for his contribution to the training and development of the human memory.
The Raven (1963) directed via Roger Corman sees the exceptional Vincent Price, Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff as medieval magicians involved a mystical duel. This fun, camp and colourful film loosely based totally on the Edgar Allen Poe poem The Raven, isn’t the finest example of the Corman-Price series, however is splendid a laugh.
Night of the Demon (1957) Jaques Tourneur. This terrific film is an model of M R James’ tale “Casting the Runes”. Starring Dana Andrews as a sceptical psychologist ‘cursed’ through the Faustian searching magician and ‘cult’ chief Julian Karswell (Nial MacGinnis). In one collection Karswell dressed as Dr Bobo performs magic at a kid’s birthday party. The verbal exchange which then ensues between the psychologist and the magician holds inside it a bunch of overall performance frames and thoughts for budding bizarrists out there!. Tourneur seemingly by no means wanted the target market to ‘see’ the demon. I many methods I desire he had had his manner. The movie might be even creepier and scarier if the fear become left to the creativeness – once more bizarre magicians take observe!
The Magician (1958) directed by means of Ingmar Bergman. The most effective purpose that movie is outdoor the pinnacle ten is because of the opportunity of being taken into consideration as being ‘pretentious’ if it is located where I think it belongs – in the pinnacle 5 at least! Max von Sydow plays a traveling magician and ‘magnetic-healer’ (harkening again to the times of Mesmer) stuck up in a story approximately prejudice, honesty, the magnificence device and….. Properly the whole lot is multilayered. Sydow is incredible, he hardly ever speaks, and Bergman’s visuals are splendid. The movie has been known as a ‘questioning mans horror film/. It is creepy surreal and brilliantly acted and directed.
The Great Buck Howard (2008) directed by means of Sean McGinly is constructed round John Malkovich’s person who is in turn based upon the mentalist Kreskin.
Next (2007) directed by using Lee Tamahori sees Nicholas Cage as a person who can see a few minutes into the future and disguises his gift with the aid of working as a living room magician. Cage is visible as every other type of ‘magician’ inside the delusion film The Sorcerers Apprentice (2010 directed by using 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 mystery, this movie hasn’t received the first-class of reviews. As I’ve no longer seen it yet I cannot remark – but perhaps a destiny evaluate of this listing may additionally see it blanketed.
So onto the Top Ten
10. Excelsior Prince of Magicians 1901 directed by using Georges Melies. This pioneer of film making become a magician before turning his hand to cine-magic. He produced many quick films of which that is handiest one, however lots of which featured film versions of degree tricks that magicians would like on the way to absolutely do. He turned into one of the first film makers to function prevent frame, time lapse and multiple exposures. He also hand painted among the black and white films he shot. A true innovator.
9. The Grim Game 1919 directed by means of Irvin Wilat. Not the finest of films to watch, but from a magician’s point of view a must. It featured Harry Houdini inside the name position showcasing his feats of escapology. Houdini, not handiest a excellent magician but a extraordinary entrepreneur embraced early cinema but to be quite honest he made little lasting contribution to cinematic artwork. In a few methods, possibly, Melies earlier ‘trick images’ lessened a number of the dramatic effect Houdini’s stay performances may have had.
Eight. Lord of Illusions (1995) directed via Clive Barker and based totally on his novel of the identical name. This film is super for its magical references. Not simplest does the ‘evil’ lead character Nix have supernatural powers, however his disciples have them. One of his disciples, Swann, after Nix’s early loss of life (previous to his later resurrection) uses his magical powers to come to be a popular illusionist. The staged magic sequences are well executed, there is a cameo look through the extraordinary Billy McCombe and the Magic Castle is represented as an area of secrets. The fundamental concept that ‘magic is a dangerous fact’ is a wonderful subject for the Bizarre Magicians accessible.
7. Cast a Deadly Spell (1991) directed with the aid of Martin Cambell, sees Detective, Harry Philip Lovecraft (performed through Fred Ward) residing in a 1940’s Los Angeles in which magic is common region. He is recruited by way of a rich guy to find a misplaced ebook – yeap, you have it… The Necronomicon! It’s truly a Bogart-esque movie-noire with a mystical flavour, of path with the aid of definition then there are magicians. It’s witty, a laugh and full of Lovecraftian references. Unfortunately on the time of writing it, not like its much less sharp sequel (Witch Hunt) is not to be had for purchase on DVD.
Witch Hunt (1994) directed Paul Schrader. A sequel to Cast a Deadly Spell in which detective, H. Phillip Lovecraft performed with the aid of Dennis Hopper combats the evils and corruption of a magic wielding senator. As a sequel no longer shoddy, but possibly no longer pretty as a laugh because the first movie.
6. The Great Kandinski (1995) directed by means of Terry Windsor. This ‘made for TV’ movie need to be protected on this list, no longer most effective for its attraction and humour, but for its sensitivities. Richard Harris (whose work is admirable) performs a retired escapologist dwelling in a nursing domestic. The tale revolves around Kandiski’s choice to ‘chase one more mystery’ and do one ‘very last display’. The get away featured is Houdini’s Water Torture mobile, that is a testament to the iconic nature of that one illusion.
Five. Nightmare Alley (1947) directed via Edmund Goulding. An stunning movie and possibly one of the all time greatest examples of film noire. Tyrone Power plays a ‘psychic con man’ Stanton Carlyle whose trail of deceit and self deceit take from rags to riches to rags. Of course the magicians out there’ll straight away see a hyperlink to a performer who used to exit beneath the call Rinaldo, but become better acknowledged professionally and now to mentalists’ world wide as Stanton Carlisle. (1928 – 1990). Stanton insisted, despite many desirable natured challenges, that that become his actual name and become no longer influenced through the Goulding movie.
4. House of Games (1978) directed with the aid of David Mamet. OK now not truly a magic movie, but functions a overall performance of one of my all time magic heroes, Ricky Jay. Ricky is one of a collection of con-guys on this Hitchcockesque mystery. Mamet, as always does a brilliant job in shooting mood and the film explores human motivations and behaviours. Ricky Jay is of course no stranger to the large display, with roles in the Bond Movie, Tomorrow Never Dies, Magnolia, Buck Howard, The Prestige and plenty of more. This, I trust however turned into his first mission onto the ‘big display’
three. Houdini (1953) directed by way of George Marshall with Tony Curtis in as Houdini. This film does have plenty to answer for in that it creates a number of the longer lasting myths about the life of the sincerely ‘mythic’ Houdini. His loss of life on level as a result of acting the ‘water torture cellular’ is not fact, but the film virtually pointers at it. The ‘brush with dying’ in a frozen river; the first performance of the ‘instantly jacket’ at a Magicians Society dinner almost really never occurred – but the romance and innocence of the instant saves it. The magical guide on this film was Dunninger.
I suppose it’s far worth mentioning in passing that in 1998 there has been a TV movie approximately Houdini (directed with the aid of Pen Denshem) and an in advance attempt at a biopic remake in 1976 with Paul Michael Glaser within the identify role (directed for tv by way of Melvile Shavelson). The film Death Defying Acts (2007) directed by using Gillian Armstrong focuses on Houdini’s documented hobby in mediums and psychics and he is virtually the automobile through which any other tale can be told.
2. Magic (1978) directed through Richard Attenborough and staring Anthony Hopkins. In the film Hopkins’ man or woman starts offevolved out as a magician, but sees success as a ventriloquist. The movie charts the autumn into insanity as the connection Hopkins has with his dummy ‘Fats’. It’s a classic film with a number of the creepier overtones being softened by way of, what some declare to be, slower sequences of sentimentality.
1. The Illusionist (2006) directed by means of Neil Burger and staring Ed Norton. The tempo and the texture of this movie is awesome. It is a love story with some great performances from a great forged. The magical advice got here from Ricky Jay and Michael Webber. Norton as Eisenhiem is the proper degree magician. The cinematography is fantastic, the plot well concerned and with, perhaps a few surprises.
1. The Prestige (2006) directed by using Christopher Nolan. Whilst The Illusionist is luxurious and attractive and at its center ‘hopeful’ and ‘romantic’, The Prestige is darker and deals with revenge, envy and competitiveness. Great performances from Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale because the feuding magicians every with a ‘mystery’ and a story this is non-linear make the film engaging and properly really worth the little attempt you need to preserve up with the tangled internet of intrigue. The ‘prestige’, the finale of the movie, consists of revelations that could wonder. Intelligent scripting brings the emotional anxiety to lifestyles and the rich magical references (Chung Ling Soo, The Bullet Catch, The Water Torture) make this film a need to for magicians. Ricky Jay seems as an established stage performer and Michael Caine is first rate because the phantasm builder – although I would in no way ask him to construct me a vanishing chicken cage!
I truly can’t separate these films in terms of quality of acting, direction and story so they percentage first region billing with the much less extreme….
Magicians (2007) without a doubt merits a Gold Star in this listing. Directed by means of Andrew O Connor and with script written in collaboration with David Britland, Andy Nyman and Anthony Owen and others that is a magical excursion de pressure. Opting for a comic examine the world of the conjuror, Magicians, sees Mitchell and Webb rattle via a few outstanding one-liners; pay homage to a few key magicians and feature a actual knock at some of the oddness that is a part and parcel of the magic scene. The high-quality Pat Page makes an appearance, and maximum of the magic ‘stalls’ on the magic conference hosting the opposition at the centre of the films plot have been provided with the aid of widely known magic sellers.