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"Just a warning, beware of which version of MAGIC you are buying.
The version with the artwork listed above, released by United American Video, is an edited, TV version, running about ten minutes less than the correct time, with all of the language edited out.
The version released by Embassy / Nelson is the complete film. You can find those in the Amazon marketplace section. Be sure the seller is listing it as such before buying.
Just wanted to make sure everyone was aware of that fact. I bought the edited version several years ago without knowing the difference."
Anthony Hopkins' Early Triumph
Kona | Emerald City | 08/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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 he 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."
MAGIC Is Fun...!
Michael R Gates | Nampa, ID United States | 05/01/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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. Still, MAGIC has two things going for it that make it rise way above the miasmic story line--the superb dramatic (and, surprisingly, ventriloquistic) talents of Anthony Hopkins, and a scene featuring the eye-poppingly gorgeous bare [...] of the beautiful and talented Ann-Margaret. Seriously, though, the performances in MAGIC, especially that from Hopkins, make the worn plot seem compelling and fresh--not that Ann-Margaret's naked [...]don't add a certain allure--and fans of the horror and thriller genres who haven't seen the film already should definitely seek it out.
Fortunately, the new DVD release of MAGIC from Dark Sky Films makes it easier than ever for genre fans to see this cinematic jewel. Not only does the disc offer a pristine widescreen digital transfer made from original 35mm negatives, it also offers some pretty cool bonus material. Included are a featurette in which ventriloquist Dennis Alwood, who was a consultant on the film, discusses the challenges in creating the Fats dummy and in tutoring Anthony Hopkins in the art of ventriloquism; interviews with Mr. Hopkins; TV and radio spots in both English and Spanish; and much more.
In short, 1978's MAGIC is a great horror flick that, unfortunately, has been eclipsed by other more sensationalized genre films from the same era. But thanks to the folks at Dark Sky Films, horror fans can now see a near-perfect copy of this wonderful film, and serious genre fans will definitely want to add the DVD to their collections."
Psychological Horror at its finest
Christopher Dalton | Louisville, Kentucky | 07/23/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"For 1978, this movie had its scary moments. Sir Anthony Hopkins and Ann-Margret did a wonderful job in Richard attenborough's adaptation of William Goldman's classic. Lucky for me, I still have the un-edited version on cassette. What I remember most about this film was Corky, the ventriloquist going slowly insane, due to schizophrenia, and romancing his childhood sweetheart, Peggy Ann Snow. The love scene between Anthony Hopkins and Ann-Margret was passionate and beautiful, if not a bit steamy. Nevertheless, the scene was executed well and came out right. Some of the more frightening moments in the film were also executed well. Corky using Fats to kill his agent and Peggy's husband are fine examples. As was Corky going completely insane in the end. I, too, remember the commercial for the film, and it did not bother me as much. Magic was a very good film. The soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith was really ominous and haunting. It would be great to see Anthony Hopkins and Ann-Margret work in another film together."
I still wear the scars from this one!
Swank Curtain | Portland Oregon | 07/10/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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'."