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Penn & Teller's Magic and Mystery Tour

3.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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(Sep 20, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Join the maverick masters of illusion as they trek to China, India, and Egypt, and witness astounding feats of magic and other inexplicable things. Pack your bags and take a funny and unpredictable trip that reveals rarely seen tricks, outrageous characters—and Penn’s true feelings about puppeteers.
Watch as Penn & Teller gawk in amazement at an Indian snake-swallower. See traditional Bengali performers "torture" family members . . . just as local authorities get into the act. Venture to Calcutta for a "performance" of the legendary Indian Rope Trick. Enter the Egyptian tomb at Beni Hassan for a modern "inside" look at the ancient "cups and balls" trick. See how Penn and Teller survive a collision with a hay truck and enjoy a vintage performance in an extremely remote—and extremely cold—village.
Caution: This program contains a few scenes that may not be suitable for the squeamish or faint of heart.

Amazon.com

Made for Canada's CBC, this three-part miniseries proves the West doesn't have a monopoly on magic. For each 50-minute program, the intrepid duo takes an irreverent, non-academic approach to their subject, the art of illusion as practiced primarily by street performers. In Beijing, they observe the bowl and mask tricks. Then it's off to Cairo for cups and balls, which silent partner Teller actually talks about (just not in public). Next it's Alexandria for snake swallowing, Delhi for the handkerchief trick, and Calcutta for the Indian rope trick (some of these are not for the squeamish). Along the way, they share some of their specialties, like fire eating (Penn) and the needle trick (Teller), but are careful not to give any secrets away. Penn & Teller's Magic and Mystery Tour explores culture and history as much as sleight of hand, resulting in a series as enlightening as it is entertaining. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

  • Production Notes
  • Additional footage not seen on the broadcast
  • Penn & Teller bio

Product Details

  • Actors: Penn Jillette, Teller, Lyla Pinch Brock, Karam, Lee Siegel
  • Directors: Hugo Smith, Ric Esther Bienstock
  • Writers: Ric Esther Bienstock
  • Producers: Ric Esther Bienstock, Felix Golubev
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, Miniseries, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: September 20, 2005
  • Run Time: 50 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000A59POW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,192 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Penn & Teller's Magic and Mystery Tour" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John A Lee III on October 8, 2005
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This program actually consists of 3 separate programs. Penn & Teller are on the road to learn about the traditional magic of other countries. Those examined include China, Egypt and India. They are not out seeking famous stage magicians. Rather, they are looking for street performers and cultural items.

The programs are both informative and entertaining. This has less to do with the magic acts presented than with Penn & Teller's snide and sarcastic sense of humor. The shows were worth watching but, for me at least, are not worth repeating.
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As a longtime Penn & Teller fan, I've become used to, and even look forward to, their "snide and sarcastic humor" but this show is SO much more! This isn't about two Vegas magicians telling you about magic - its about two very knowledgeable men who are students of the art form and want to trace it back to its roots.

These guys know every move and trick in the book, and have made alot of money with that knowledge, yet they come across as genuinely humbled by the experiences that we witness with them. I found myself comparing this to Michael Palin's fantastic series of travel specials, where you feel that you are travelling right along with them.

I hope they do more of these shows one day!
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I was amazed by the historical informaton and introspective reactions by both Penn & Teller in this video series. They are obviously masters of the game by any standard - but it's almost as if they were humbled (if that's possible for Penn!) by their surroundings in each of the three countries they visited.

Magic aside - the socialist setting of rural China, to the poverty stricken maze of streets in India and Egypt - these documentary travels would be excellent as social and cultural teaching tools for jaded U.S. Jr. & Sr. high kids. Plus - some pretty cool tricks, too.

It's interesting to note that the original travel & production date is 2000 -- before 9/11.
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If you are a fan of Penn & Teller, then you will find this video to be interesting on many levels. Especially if you want exposure to cultures that have been practicing magic for thousands of years. And this video does NOT disappoint in that regard.

However, one thing that continually bothered me throughout, was Penn Jillette's tendency to be condescending towards many of the magicians, and/or spectators, that they met during their travels. He really came across as having an air of superiority, which was very disappointing. On the bright side, it was nice to hear Raymond Teller speaking, and I found him to be quite modest, very thoughtful of others, and I enjoyed his remarks about the magic acts that he had witnessed, or participated in.

BOTTOM LINE: I am glad I bought the DVD, but Penn Jillette's [snobbish] attitude sort of spoils it for me.
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If you are a Penn and Teller fan or just interested in magic and it's history, you must buy this DVD. Penn and Teller travel to China,Egypt, and India to learn about magic and magicians in these countries. Each trip is it's own documentary as we follow Penn and Teller around and even get some footage of Teller talking to the camera. The editing and footage is so great, and makes you feel as though you are with them on their journeys. The animated opening and catchy theme song is also fantastic. I've been singing it all day. You won't be dissapointed with the purchase of the DVD and there are even some great extras!!
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