Magic R CC

(147) IMDb 6.8/10

Academy Award-winner Anthony Hopkins (SILENCE OF THE LAMBS) is Corky, a painfully shy, failed magician who finds overnight success as a ventriloquist. With his star on the rise, talent agent Ben Greene (Burgess Meredith) arranges an important shot at national TV. But the pressure of failing the network's required physical sends Corky into a panic. With dummy Fats in tow, he flees the city to a nearly-deserted resort in the Catskills run by the love of his youth, Peggy Ann Snow (Ann-Margret). After they make love, Corky confides to Fats that he may leave show business altogether. Fats becomes furious and lashes out at him, playing on his guilt and insecurity. Now under Fats' control, Corky is manipulated into a series of violent and unexpected confrontations.

Starring:
Anthony Hopkins, Ann-Margret
Runtime:
1 hour, 47 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

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Product Details

Genres Horror
Director Richard Attenborough
Starring Anthony Hopkins, Ann-Margret
Supporting actors Burgess Meredith, Ed Lauter, E.J. André, Jerry Houser, David Ogden Stiers, Lillian Randolph, Joe Lowry, Robert Hackman, Mary Munday, Brad Beesley, Scott Garrett, Beverly Sanders, I.W. Klein, Patrick McCullough, Stephen P. Hart, Michael J. Harte
Studio MPI Media Group
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Michael R Gates VINE VOICE on May 1, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Richard Attenborough's 1978 opus MAGIC is a minor masterpiece of cinematic horror that, while oft overlooked, arguably helped pave the way to the slasher craze of late '70s and early '80s (it was released within a mere month of John Carpenter's now better known HALLOWEEN). Though Attenborough and scripter William Goldman--who adapted from his own identically titled bestseller--play down the grislier slasher aspects of the novel, they do generate genuine psychological terror with the help of an outstanding performance from actor Anthony Hopkins (yes, THAT Anthony Hopkins, who would later leave a bigger mark on horror cinema portraying another fictional loon, the infamous Hannibal Lecter). Excellent supporting performances from Ann-Margaret, as Hopkins' love interest, and Burgess Meredeth add to the believability and, in turn, the scare factor of this delightful genre gem.

Hopkins portrays Corky Withers, a painfully shy but talented magician who overcomes his stage fright and ignites a meteoric rise to fame when he takes on a sidekick--an extroverted and bawdy ventriloquist's dummy he names Fats. As Corky's act becomes more and more popular and draws the attention of big-time agents and Hollywood brass, introverted and insecure Corky allows the artificial Fats personality to take control. And Fats will do anything--ANYTHING!--to help Corky keep his split personality a secret.

True, the plot of MAGIC is not totally original. Not only had a few cinema offerings already told the same basic story--1929's THE GREAT GABBO and a segment of the 1945 British anthology DEAD OF NIGHT, to name a few--but TV's ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS (in an episode entitled "The Glass Eye") and THE TWILIGHT ZONE (in a segment called "The Dummy") also featured startlingly similar subject matter.
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45 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Kona VINE VOICE on August 30, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
Anthony Hopkins stars as Corky Withers, a ventriloquist/magician with a pathological fear of failure. When his life starts to become surreal, he looks up the girl he secretly loved in high school, Peggy Ann Snow (Ann-Margret), and, with the help of his wiseguy dummy, Fats, sparks fly between them. But Corky's agent (Burgess Merideth) worries that Corky thinks Fats is real, thus setting off a deadly chain of events.

Anthony Hopkins is utterly convincing as the fearful and hallucinating ventriloquist. His manic performance is dynamite; he will break your heart and send chills up your spine. Ann-Margret is good as the cheerleader turned haus frau, but doesn't look dowdy enough. Ed Lauter gives an excellent performance as her brutish husband. Burgess Meredith plays the sophisticated and worldly agent with regal aplomb and almost steals the show.

William Goldman's script is thrilling without resorting to gore, and the soundtrack, which is often simply a discordant harmonica solo, adds to the spookiness. I thoroughly recommend "Magic" to fans of Anthony Hopkins and psychological thrillers; you will not be disappointed.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Swank Curtain on July 9, 2006
Format: DVD
I've never been so bone-chillingly afraid of ANYTHING in my life. When I was six, the TV spots, known to me & my sisters as "The Dummy Commercial" aired during our nighttime television viewing time. The first exposure left me petrified. Each succesive airing made me run as far from the TV as possible. In recent years I collected the nerve to rent the film on VHS, hoping for some kind of reckoning with 'Fats'... but the mood of the film was bland compared to my intensely frightened memories. Now, at last, the film with all the press material, including that startling TV spot is available on DVD. My heart thumped in my chest as I brought home this DVD and explained to my roommates the significance of what they would soon watch with me. I made them leave the room as I cued up the spot, turned off the lights and asked them to be seated. I started the commercial and watched both of my 30+ roommates freeze. I confronted that harshly lit face and did not look away. I studied every detail. As a 33 year old man, I'm still afraid of the 'Dummy Commerical'.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Matthew C. Pinkerton on April 23, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
This review has nothing to do with the above pictured videotape edition of this film. If the other reviews are to be believed (and I see no reason why they shouldn't) this tape contains a cut version of "Magic" which I must nay-say on general principle. And now back to Matt's life:
I first saw this movie at about the age of six or seven when it premiered on network television. Of course I'd already been intrigued and frightened near to death by the super-creepy t.v. spot that ran in 1978 (kudos to other reviewers here for reminding me of that little gem after twenty-some years). While the film in no way dissuaged my intent on becoming a professional magician and ventriloquist, it did spook me pretty good. Now, after over a decade, I finally decided to revisit the past.
While the film certainly isn't great, it is nowhere near as bad as some people would have you believe. It also does not approach the level of banality to which Mr. Hopkins has, in recent years, apparently resigned himself. While I have never been old Tony's biggest booster, I think a case can be made for his performance here. If nothing else, the role is the perfect showcase for his acting style and those who go into the film loving him will only love him more. Ann-Margret does a good turn as Peggy-Ann Snow and Burgess Meredith trots out his usually excellent curmudgeon bit. While the whole dummy/ventriloquist personality swap is nothing new to the genre ("Dead of Night" as well as a Twilight Zone episode starring Cliff Robertson come to mind as but two forerunners), this film is nonetheless dark, bleak, menacing, creepy, powerful and very scary. It's not perfect. The love scene between Ann and Tony is even yuckier today than it was when I was five.
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