Magic (1978) – A Great Movie
1978’s Magic is a twisted, psychological horror tale of an introverted mouse of a man, Charles “Corky” Wither, a professional magician and ventriloquist (played by the great Anthony Hopkins) who loses his grip on reality just as he is poised to make it big in show business.
Corky attempts to hone his stage skills at the insistence of his dying father (a one time magician that that worked the Catskills scene), who believes in Corky’s talent. After lots of work, he is discovered by big time agent, Ben Greene (played by the always great Burgess Meridith) who get’s him a deal with a major network, with the caveat that Corky must take a medical exam – nsomething that Corky refuses to do on “principal.” Upset, Corky takes off to an old place that rented cabins in the Catskills. It turns out that the lodge is run by a woman, Peggy Ann Snow (played by the gorgeous Ann-Margret), who Corky had a crush on as a child.
Peggy Ann, now in a bad marriage, engages Corky and they end up in bed together and talking about her leaving her husband and taking off with Corky. Little does anyone know (at this point), that Corky is being controlled by his schizophrenic alter ego that manifests itself through his ventriloquist dummy, Fats.
Ben Green walks in on Corky while he’s having an argument with the dummy, realizing that the reason Corky refused the medical exam was that he was worried that the doctor would discover that he was stark raving mad. After a tense test (that Corky fails), Ben goes to leave, vowing to get Corky professional help. Shortly after walking out the door, Fats convinces Corky to kill Ben… And then the carnage begins.
I don’t want to give away anymore of this masterpiece. Let me say this: I have ventriloquist and their acts – I do not find any entertainment in this form of show business. That said, Magic is a fantastic movie with a great cast and great acting. A good movie.
Watch Magic – you owe it to yourself!
Here’s the trailer: