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  • Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay
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Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay


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Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay + Celebrations of Curious Characters + Jay's Journal of Anomalies
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Product Details

  • Actors: Ricky Jay
  • Directors: Molly Bernstein
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Surround Sound, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Kino Lorber
  • DVD Release Date: November 5, 2013
  • Run Time: 88 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00EO2I6O2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,174 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

Ricky Jay is a world-renowned magician, author, historian and actor (some of his recent starring roles in movies include The Prestige, Tomorrow Never Dies and Magnolia) -- and a performer who regularly provokes astonishment from even the most jaded audiences. DECEPTIVE PRACTICE traces Jay's achievements and influences, from his apprenticeship at age 4 with his grandfather, to such now-forgotten legends as Al Flosso, Slydini, Cardini and his primary mentors, Dai Vernon and Charlie Miller. Featuring rare footage from his 1970's TV appearances (doing 3-card Monte with Steve Martin on The Dinah Shore Show) and told in Jay's inimitable voice, this is a remarkable journey inside the secretive world of magic and the small circle of eccentrics who are its perpetual devotees.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 18 customer reviews
That said, this is still very worth seeing.
K. Gordon
Thanks to the folks responsible for this wonderful documentary on this amazing human being.
William W. Smith
I watched it with a friend and she loved it and wanted a copy of it.
Betsy Green

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Samuel Lamerson on October 13, 2013
Verified Purchase
This is worth getting just for the clips of Dai Vernon and Charlie Miller. Add to that the incredible stories by those who have had their lives changed (yes, really) by one of Mr. Jay's tricks and you have a great film. But wait, there's more . . . film of Jay performing on TV as a small child before he was Ricky Jay, backstage work between he and Michael Weber, insight into the "rules" that Mr. Jay has about those who would desire to be his conversation partners.
Truly a fascinating film about a fascinating character. The director has promised lots of "extras" on the DVD and I can't wait to see them.
If you are a magician, a lover of magic history, or just a fan of Mr. Jay, this is a must have.
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I admire Ricky Jay tremendously, first as a historian of magic and peculiar performance, secondly as perhaps the greatest living slight-of-hand artist, with an emphasis on card manipulation. I've never had the opportunity to see Jay live, so I appreciated the clips from his performances and interviews in this film. "Deceptive Practice", directed and edited by Molly Bernstein, takes its title from Ricky Jay's magic consulting business Deceptive Practices, Inc. The narration by Dick Cavett takes us through Jay's career in magic and scholarship, including commentary and history by Jay on the mentors of his youth and early career. Some of Jay's friends and colleagues are also interviewed, including playwright David Mamet, business partner Michael Weber, and manager Winston Simone.

"Deceptive Practice" begins with the career of 7-year-old Ricky Potash and the great influence of his grandfather, amateur magician Max Katz. Ricky Jay fondly recalls his grandfather and his grandfather's friends, accomplished magicians of the day who were the basis of his education in magic: "Cardini" or Richard Valentine Pitchford, Francis Carlyle, Tony Slydini, Al Flosso, who sparked Jay's interest in the history of magic, and Roy Benson. Jay also has a lot to say about Dai Vernon and Charlie Miller, to whom he was effectively apprenticed after Jay's career was well underway and he had achieved some notoriety from television appearances. All of this information about these great artists is wonderful, but there is a good deal less about Ricky Jay than about other people.

Through interviews with friends, we get a couple of insights into Jay's personality and some great stories that demonstrate his wry sense of humor and extraordinary slight of hand. But the insight into Jay's character is limited.
Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Scott Joplin on November 10, 2013
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The movie is entertaining, informative, and well made. The stories about Ricky's mentors were fascinating, and he was amazing and funny. I especially liked the runny nose trick he did with Ed Sullivan. There are copious bonus features on the DVD, including a performance by Flydini (Steve Martin).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By FilmViewer on February 1, 2014
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I had seen Ricky Jay in films (most notably in House of Games). I didn't realize he had such a following and was doing public performances.

The film itself is well done, scripted, and directed. Not a dull movement.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By K. Gordon TOP 1000 REVIEWER on December 27, 2013
A glass one-third empty, two-thirds full kind of film. One-third that is rich and brimming is the wonderful introduction to the various
colorful artists who mentored Ricky Jay into arguably the foremost card magician of our time. It's a lineage we learn that is handed down very personally, from generation to generation and then only in bits and pieces. Jay tells great stories of the men who inspired and tutored him. And we occasionally see terrific glimpses of them performing in some great found old footage.

The second full third are the wonderful, if all too brief times we to watch Jay's amazing artistry with cards and card tricks. Slight of hand at this level is truly beautiful -- a dance of illusion. There's a silky smoothness to Jay's movements that works in powerful tandem with this spikey, off-beat, almost dangerous on stage persona.

The third that's missing is a deeper exploration of the man himself. By his own admission Jay keeps the world at bay. We hear a very few tantalizing bits about his boyhood family life away from magic, but then that's put aside (even his manager of 20+ years admits he knows better than to ask Ricky about his childhood). Only near the very end of the film do we even learn that Jay is married, and that his wife seems to be a huge part of his life. Then this too is moved on from. I can accept that Jay and perhaps director Molly Bernstein wanted to keep the film focused largely on Jay's titular mentors, but, for my taste, they took the `mysteries' part of the title a bit too seriously. It's frustrating to watch a truly striking human being talk about their life and craft for 90 minutes, and realize you know little more about them at the end than at the beginning. It leaves a very entertaining and well made film feeling a touch incomplete.

That said, this is still very worth seeing. I was never bored, sometimes astonished by what I saw, and heard amazing stories I don't think I'll soon forget.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Santa Cruz on December 16, 2013
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This was an interesting account of magic throughout history & today. Ricky Jay is a great magician, entertainer and speaker.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William W. Smith on December 12, 2013
Unlike others who reviewed this, I DID find out a lot about Ricky Jay from this. True, you have to read between the lines & "treasure hunt" to get to it, but it made it that much more fun. Yes, there is more about his mentors than about him TECHNICALLY. But, these are the men who shaped him into what he is today, so if you truly can use your brain & common sense { traits sadly not in play much in people in these days of the "push a button & there it is" way of thinking }, you will find you feel like you know Ricky personally. I have idolized this man since I first saw him on tv on the late great Doug Henning's first magic special in the 1970's, & have idolized him ever since. Thanks to the folks responsible for this wonderful documentary on this amazing human being. BRAVO!!!!
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