It seems there is always a film that is very widely known, talked about, paid homage to, or copied, that for some reason or another I have not seen. We all have that problem. We just never get around to seeing it. It may, and in my case, is certainly true, have nothing to do with lack of interest, or bad word of mouth. Time just seems to get the better of me, with the decision to view another film usually outweighing the resolve to have the little red envelope delivered to my door.
Happily, I finally sat to watch today’s film. I now could put into perspective all the films that followed, but deterred in some way or another from the originals story.
31 Days of Howl-oween
A Review of Films Filled with Frights
~ Magic ~
Director: Richard Attenborough
Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Ann-Margret, Burgess Meredith, Ed Lauter, David Ogden Stiers
Country: United States
Specs: 107 mins. / Color / OAR 1.85:1 / MPAA Rating: R
Corky (Hopkins), a struggling magician, decides to add a vulgar ventriloquist act to his set, quickly gaining fame and opportunity. When his ruthless agent (Meredith), secures him a TV deal, he bails to a secluded cabin in the woods where he meets with high school crush Peggy (Margret). While the two begin an affair, it becomes apparent that Corky and his ventriloquist dummy Fats may be more intertwined than a simple stage act, to the detriment of all in Corky’s life.
Let me simply start by saying Meredith is AMAZING. I literally believed I was looking at a smarmy Hollywood agent perform at the top of his game. Add to that mix the simply excellent performance by the convincingly schizophrenic Hopkins, and the sultry performance by Margret, and this picture already is in the caliber of the best pictures to grace the silver screen. A simply wonderful script by William Goldman (All the President’s Men, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Princess Bride), sensational direction from Attenborough (Gandhi, A Bridge Too Far, Chaplin), and a hauntingly striking score from Jerry Goldsmith (Just IMDB him if you’ve never heard of him!) and you’d have to really foul up to mess this film up. Thankfully, that never happens!
The film is riveting from start to finish, with the tension turned to high the entire way. The pacing of the film is perfect, and the cinematography only adds to the eeriness of the film. Every time the camera dolly’s or pan’s past Fats, the tingling up the spine is at full tilt.
It is easy to see how films like Child’s Play would come about from this film. Creepy looking dolls are SCARY! Just ask the kid from Poltergeist.
Sadly for my son, his inherited “My Buddy” doll is now at the garbage dump…
My Rating: ***** / A
Available on Amazon: Magic [Blu-ray]
or Amazon Video on Demand: Magic
or Get the original William Goldman novel for your Kindle: MAGIC the Novel
To be continued…