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... more » 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.« less
"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!"
Fine but Not Up to the Usual Standard
John A Lee III | San Antonio, TX | 10/08/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"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. "
Penn and Teller document the history of magic like noone els
Evan Lucas | New Jersey | 10/02/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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!!
They do it, so we don't have to...
M. J Gehrking | Pewaukee, WI United States | 02/25/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"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."
The Best Penn & Teller DVD!
Whitebat | Colorado | 03/30/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The music and animation of the intro are very amusing, a little like Scooby Doo (in a good way). China They watched performances by magicians who'd learned from a long line of masters. About the first guy they saw did production of bowls of water (18 in all). They showed a quick-change artist with masks. This is a Chinese opera thing. In the teahouse, Penn did some fire eating, but the volunteer he got was slow with the cigarette. They went to the acrobatics and magic school. They sat in on a magic class (~20-30 students), learning the linking rings with synchronized swimming-like precision. They did the 3 of Clubs force with scleral shells, and none of the students laughed until the teacher did. Penn got to juggle with a gal who juggles knives on horseback. After pair juggling, and pair juggling with flaming clubs/torches, he had to impress her by juggling broken bottles. They went to a more rural area, where the farmers earn money in the off-season as street performers. They let Teller perform with them the next day. Teller did "Needles" , using an apple from the family's orchard.
They were looking for "Galli galli men", traditional street magicians. They showed an Ed Sullivan clip of Luxor Galli Galli, and Egyptian magician who made it big in the U.S. [He had a cups and balls act with live chicks.] The club they were in had several people doing linking rings. They also met someone doing cups & balls. A waiter was eating glass and a brick.
They visited the cups and balls magician from the club at his apartment. It turns out he's actually a relative of Luxor Galli Galli. He inherited the actual cups and balls. At their hotel, Teller talked! He told how the cups and balls guy fooled him by faking all the steals, so one ball actually ended up under each cup. The nicest thing anyone could do for him. He also expressed his frustration at trying to communicate a linking rings move to another magician, and not quite succeeding because of the language barrier.
They found a galli galli man who claimed to have invented snake eating, and that no one else could do it. He also showed the first trick he learned, when he was 7 years old, which was a quick series of cigarette productions! They went to look at a tomb with a mural that might depict cups & balls. They did their cups & balls routine on site, with plastic cups, repeated with clear plastic cups, the whole bit. The street magic scene in Egypt is mostly nostalgia now. India
There is a lot of street magic in India; most of the performances they watched had the magician inflicting bodily harm on and then restoring a relative. The first show involved cutting someone's tongue off.
The police broke up the show they were watching. If Penn and Teller had not been filming, the police would also have beaten and robbed the magicians.
They watched another show, which included some geek acts. They two "wild men" at the end, eating live birds. They were actually the magician's brothers-in-law. They saw a performance of the Indian Rope Trick (rope rises from basket and becomes rigid; boys climbs up; boy climbs down; rope goes limp). They staged the outcome of the rope trick to fool some tourists (mythically, the boy is dismembered at the top and thrown down, then magically restored).