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MagicAndBlackjack
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Does anybody know of any movies that are about magic or a magician? Like a Hollywood movie, not an instructional video or anything. I always thought it would be fun to see a movie revolving around magic.

Thanks,
TJ
pxs
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There have been a whole lot of movies about Houdini. The Tony Curtis film was pretty good (although not entirely accurate). There was also a TV movie about Houdini a few years back which was reasonably entertaining.
mattneufeld
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There's a movie called The Magician. There's apparently several others about magicians, if you go by just conversations with various magicians. However, I don't have the exact names, years and stars just now. But it's a good question. There was also apparently a short-lived television series about a magician--perhaps called The Magician--and I think it starred Bill Bixby. Now, if you include all the television shows and movies that have featured magician characters, real-life magicians, magic tricks and illusions, and cameos by magicians playing themselves, then you're talking in the hundreds, if not thousands, of films.
marko
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I don't know of too many films that revolve around magic or magicians. And the ones that I do know aren't very good. But for films that deal with closely related subjects I highly recommend the films of David Mamet (Ricky Jay even appears in many of them).
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Ellen Kotzin
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The Escape Artist. It's 1982 but Harry's first film.

Ellen
El_Lamo
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O.K. This is abridged from the Complete Idiot's Guide to Magic by Tom Ogden. The list has much more detail and the book has many more fascinating sections. I strongly recommend it.

  • 1896 Conjuring a Lady at the Robert-Houdin's is probably the first film to show a magic trick.
  • 1918 The Master Mystery features Houdini.
  • 1919 The Grim Game features Houdini.
  • 1919 Terror Island features Houdini.
  • 1931 The Spider has a stage magician solving the murder of an audience member.
  • 1931 The Phantom of Paris has a magician accused of murder.
  • 1932 Chandu the Magician with Bela Lugosi. He plays the villain in this one and Chandu in the sequel in 1934.
  • 1939 Eternally Yours David Niven plays the Illusionist the Great Arturo.
  • 1939 Mandrake the Magician is based on the comic strip.
  • 1939 Miracles for Sale has Robert Young playing an illusionist who uses magic to solve murder. There are exposures in this film.
  • 1939 Mystic Circle Murder has Houdini's widow, Bess, in a cameo in this film about a reporter investigating fraudulent mediums.
  • 1942 Lady In Distress Paul Lukas is a magician who stabs his wife and a witness wonders is it a magic rehearsal or...
  • 1945 The Strange Mr. Gregory A magician pretends to be his brother.
  • 1946 A Haunting We Will Go - Laurel & Hardy meet illusionist Dante.
  • 1946 The Mask of Dijon involves a magician hypnotist and a magic shop owner.
  • 1953 Houdini - The Tony Curtis film mentioned above by PXS.
  • 1953 Lil - An orphan falls in love with a magician in a travelling circus.
  • 1953 Siren of Bagdad has a court magician and his assistant saving the day.
  • 1954 The Mad Magician with Vincent Price and John Emery.
  • 1958 The Geisha Boy with Jerry Lewis as an inept magician.
  • 1959 The Magician has Max von Sydow playing travelling illusionist Vogler in this Ingmar Bergman film. This is probably the one Matt referred to above.
  • 1965 Two On A Guillotine Cesar Romero plays a crazy magician who kills during his show.
  • 1972 Get to Know Your Rabbits has Tom Smothers going to Orson Welles Magic School.
  • 1973 F for Fake with Orson Welles.
  • 1978 Those Wonderful Movie Cranks has an illusionist using movies in his show.
  • 1979 The Magician of Lublin has Alan Arkin as a travelling magician in Eastern Europe.
  • 1980 Terror Train with David Copperfield playing an illusionist.
  • 1982 The Escape Artist with Harry Anderson as Ellen described above.
  • 1989 New York Stories George Schindler, the magician, plays a magician who makes a mother disappear.
  • 1995 Lord of Illusions - the film has scenes of the Magic Castle and explores the reality of magic and illusions.
  • 1995 Rough Magic has a detective searching for a magician's assistant who may have magical powers.
  • 1997 Fairy Tale has Harvey Keitel playing Harry Houdini.


Cheers - El Lamo
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kihei kid
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Bravo, El_Lamo, Bravo. Smile Ask and you shall recieve.
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Mark Rough
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There's an early Anthony Hopkins movie just called "Magic" about a psychotic ventiloquist. I think it was made in the mid to late 70's, perhaps early 80's. Very creepy. None of my local video stores--and there are a lot around here--carry it though. I'm still in search.

Mark
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Scott Cram
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Next year, you will be able to go to the movie theater and see The War Magician (about Jasper Maskelyne, and produced by Tom Cruise), and Carter Beats The Devil (a fictional murder mystery based on the book of the same name).
MagicAndBlackjack
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Sounds good. Thanks for all the replies.

I will have to check a couple of those out.

Thanks again.
TJ
Emily Belleranti
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Wow!

That's quite a list, El_Lamo. I'll have to take a look at a few of those. Thanks for taking the time to type all of those up.
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Marshall Thornside
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Quote:
On 2003-11-04 17:24, mattneufeld wrote:
There's a movie called "The Magician." There's apparently several others about magicians, if you go by just conversations with various magicians. However, I don't have the exact names, years and stars just now. But it's a good question. There was also apparently a short-lived television series about a magician--perhaps called "The Magician"--and I think it starred Bill Bixby. Now, if you include all the television shows and movies that have featured magician characters, real-life magicians, magic tricks and illusions, and cameos by magicians playing themselves, then you're talking in the hundreds, if not thousands, of films.


Yes Bill Bixby was the featured actor in the movie. In fact, my father was personally asked to be in the movie with him, but turned him down.
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ed rhodes
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There was a TV-movie starring Christopher George called Escape about an escape artist who fights criminals. (I have to wonder about the brains of the criminals who actually put the escape artist into a strait jacket and hang him upside down and think he's helpless!)

Also, The Magician was a pilot for the series starring Bill Bixby. (I liked it better in the first season when he was jetting around the world with the cool pilot rather than him staying at the Magic Castle with the ditzy guy helping him.)

Another pilot was Blacke's Magic with Hal Linden as a retired magician who solves mysteries with his con man father Harry Morgan. This one was created by the same team that gave us Burke's Law back in the sixties and the odd thing was, they used the same plot! (A Burke's Law episode had the millionare detective investigating the death of a magician who'd spent a major amount of time submerged in a pool, only to be discovered dead from a gunshot wound when he was brought out.) In the Burke's Law and Blacke's Magic storylines, the murder happens at a magician's convention which gives them lots of room for magician's jokes. (Jill St. John plays a model who pressed into being the general assistant for all the magicians.) In the remake of Burke's Law, they do the same story (again) only this time three magicians are performing at a private party. Same bad guy, although the motive changed from the '60s episode to the '90's remake.
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mattneufeld
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Just so everyone's clear: Yes, there is a 1959 film starring Max Von Sydow called The Magician, and there was a television series called "The Magician" starring Bill Bixby.

By the way, there was an excellent episode of "The X-Files" that starred a magician, included magic as part of the plot, and included a few tricks or two--including the rotating-hand trick, which Scully did at the end of the episode. Highly recommended episode, if you come across it.
Adam Grace
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Don't forget "Shade" which is coming out this next year. Stallone plays the Dean, Hal Holbrook plays Vernon, Jamie Foxx plays Larry Jennings, and I play.... well you'll just have to wait and see... Smile
ed rhodes
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Did they ever get off the ground with The Magician's Wife? (I think that was the title.) It was supposed to be about Robert-Houdin's performing in the Middle East to help the French put down a rebellion. (I remember one reviewer actually saying the magician's name was "Robert Houdin.")

It was supposed to star Sean Connery, which would have to be one of the oddest pieces of casting going unless they cut out the part about his being French!
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
Reis O'Brien
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That magician in The X-Files was the one and only Ricky Jay! There was also a TNT original movie called Houdini, but I still haven't been able to find it. I am, however, going to look for some of those movies in El Lamo's list. Good show, old chap!
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And as far I remember, David Copperfield had acted as a magician on the train in the movie Horror Train. Smile
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Harry Murphy
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Let’s see, films that I remember and that have not been mentioned above (or that I missed) include the old 1960’s movie version of the book The Circus of Dr. Lao called the Seven Faces of Dr. Lao. The entire circus was an illusion and included Merlin the Magician (the REAL Merlin that is!).

Then from my childhood, there were a series of films staring Chester Morris (a good magician that I actually got to see perform, as a magician, once) as "Boston Blakie". Chester started life as a magician and did magic tricks in his films. There were between 12 and 14 of the films made between 1941 and 1949 (or maybe 1950).

A good Czechoslovakian (remember when there was a Czechoslovakia?) film called The Last Trick (1965) by Jan Svankmajer used a conflict between two masked magicians (masked magicians) to carry forth his story line. Interesting film that used illusions, sleights, misdirection, and thread and wires more than special camera effects.

I’m sure that I can come up with about a dozen more given time, but these ought to suffice for now.

Oh, be sure to watch for the soon to be released Kate Winslet, Geoffery Rush film The Magician’s Wife. The film is about a French illusionist (Robert-Houdin played by Rush) and his wife (Winslet) who are sent on a special mission to Africa by Napoleon. This was to stave off a Holy war.

And keep posted on The War Magician which has been discussed elsewhere here.
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ed rhodes
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Quote:
On 2003-11-16 16:53, TORA wrote:
And as far I remember, David Copperfield had acted as a magician on the train in the movie Horror Train. Smile


Terror Train--I saw it. David says he used to go out and rent copies of it just to destroy. The rental company charges him full price for the film and there's one less copy of Terror Train in the world! As far as he was concerned, it was a plan with no downside.

I remember Siskel and Ebert getting upset at the idea of using a real magician to play a magician in a movie and actually advertising the fact that there were no camera tricks in the magic.

I thought David was good, the film was **** but the ending was a surprise! Smile
"There's no time to lose," I heard her say.
"Catch your dreams before they slip away."
"Dying all the time, lose your dreams and you could lose your mind.
Ain't life unkind?"
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