Corky (Anthony Hopkins), a failed magician, adopts a new ventriloquist act with an abrasive dummy named Fats, and suddenly finds himself lined up for a television show. When the unbalanced Corky fears he won't pass the required mental exam, he runs away with Fats to his hometown, where he meets an old love from high school, Peggy (Ann-Margret). Corky persuades Peggy to leave her loveless marriage -- but Fats, who seems to be taking on a mind of his own, doesn't approve of the relationship.
Anthony Hopkins stars in this eclectic tale of a ventriloquist (Hopkins) and his dummy Fats. It becomes strangely apparent that Fats is an embodiment of Corky's (Hopkins) schizophrenia.
The story waddles on, but picks up once Corky proves he has no control over Fats. This is where it becomes disturbing. Fats now talks to Corky as if the body now represents his own subconscious. As the paranoia prevails, Corky struggles to do the right thing but steadily loses his grip.
The box it came in looked corny, but the movie was quite gripping. Hopkins mastery of a Brooklyn accent is impressive.
A Great One
This was a great psychological horror movie. You won't get tons of blood and guts or fighting, it's just about a ventriloquist and his dummy who he thinks is his living breathing partner. Hopkins is fantastic!
creepy & funny
Strangely neglected at the time of its release, this is a creepy and sort-of black humored character study of a man who, basically, splits his personality in two halves; imagine Norman Bates with a dummy fixation instead of a Mommy fixation and you get a general idea what is in store. The scene where Burgess Meredith asks Anthony Hopkins to make the dummy stop talking for five minutes is worth the price of admission. Plus you get brief glimpses of Anne Margaret's bare breasts!
On the whole the plotting reminds me very much of a Jim Thompson novel. Not at all typical of the work of Director Richard Attenborough...unless to remember that as an actor in 1970 he portrayed real-life British Serial murderer & necrophiliac John Christie in TEN RILLINGTON PLACE (which was actually filmed in the exact house where the real-life killings took place!)
A forgotten psychological/horror gem
This somehow has become a forgotten movie which seems odd that after the subsequent success and recognition of Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs that more people didn't look back at his 1978 performance in this psychological/horror gem. William Goldman has quite a record of novels being adapted to film or screenplays by him which include No Way to Treat a Lady, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Stepford wives, The Great Waldo Pepper, All the Presidents Men, Marathon Man, Misery and A Bridge Too Far among other memorable films. Actor/Dirctor Richard Attenborough who is notable for directing Ghandi, Chaplin and A Bridge Too Far teams up again with Goldman to bring us Magic. Anthony Hopkins as the ventriloquist also provides the voice of his menacing dummy. Bergis Meredith turns in a great performance as usual as well as Ann Margaret. This is Hopkin's film though and he is superb in lead role. I saw this in the theater during it's initial release and have only seen it once since then. Don't know why this doesn't make on TV more often. I would give this an 8.0 out of 10 and recommend it.
A forgotten classic
I have passed on this film several times in the past, and people told me it was better than I thought, so I gave it a try. I was amazed how great it was, Anthony Hopkins has never had a character with more energy, this was before he started playing rather boring characters. Although the film does have some plot holes, and there are some unintentional laughs(especially the death of Ben Greene, I couldnt keep a straight face), but Anthony Hopkins is so good he overpowers all of the weaknesses of the film. The film made over 40 million dollars at the time of release, and thats quite a lot for 1978, Im surprised the rating isnt higher, and that it doesnt have more votes. My rating: 7.5 out of 10.
One of the best Horror films of the 70s
For me this is Hopkins second best film (after 'Silence Of The Lambs'). This film starts off pretty boring for about the first half an hour until he and Fats kill Ben Greene (Oh Fats is the creepy doll). All three deaths are nice and kind of gory, which pleased me a lot, Fats has a couple of funny lines and the story is amazing. There has been quite a few 'nice doll coming alive and killing people' films like Child's Play for instance but Magic is the best it has every thing, like I said about the deaths and the plot it all fits together into a great film.
Oh yeah and I like the ending too, I mean when I first watched it I thought that Corky (Anthony Hopkins) actually killed Peggy but instead he killed himself its quite sad actually. Poor Corky.
The best Ventriloquist Thriller from the '70s
I found out about this movie recently back in April 2007. Ever since I found out about it, I watched the trailer, bought the DVD without previewing it, and you know what...I loved it! This movie is by far in my opinion, the best romantic, psychological thriller ever. I loved this movie so much, that I want to buy the soundtrack and a replica of Fats the dummy. I read the book, which is better than the movie, yet goes into too much detail that would bore a normal person to death. I recommend that one should watch the trailer on youtube first. If one likes the look of it, then one should rent the DVD. If one likes the DVD, then one should borrow the book from a library. Fats the dummy is the only reason for why I love this movie. Without him, this movie wouldn't be as good. I recently made a facebook group for Fats. I wish this movie would be regarded higher than it is.
An underrated horror classic!
Corky ( Anthony Hopkins) is a failed magician who still can do tricks and finds the secret of success at a city nightclub as a ventriloquist with a dummy named Fats, his agent ( Burgess Merideth) wants him to be on TV as Corky must be required a medical exam before he can be on TV. Corky has become obsessed with Fats especially having chats with him, he's scared to take the exam as he flees the city so he can stay a while at a lake resort in the Catskills owned by the former love of his life Peg ( Ann Marget) whom he falls for again, but Fats starts to become evil and wants to take control of Corky so he can kill people and go to the brink of insanity.
Highly underrated, unique and startling horror thriller shocker written by William Goldman ("Misery", "The Princess Bride") and directed by Richard Attenbough, the film was a minor hit and has gained a cult following, it blends horror with a blend of some humor, a superb score by Jerry Goldsmith and great acting by the cast. Fats himself is a pretty eerie little thing, i remembered when i was 4 back in 1986 watching this movie on video or HBO it scared the bejesus out of me and made me afraid of dummies especially of my brother's Mortimer dummy, but i did manage to get over my fear when i was 11 as i couldn't be afraid of dummies anymore like i use to. I now appreciate the film now and is one of my favorite horror flicks ever, this is one of the best killer doll and psycho flicks around that i highly recommend.
A Superb and unfairly underrated psychological masterpiece
Richard Attenborough's Magic is a textbook example of how to make a psychological come love-story and thriller without resorting to car chases explosions shoddy visual effects and the usual elements which ruin mainstream cinema. hear Attenborough takes imaginary people and puts them in terrifying circumstances which evolve into frightening situations, magic stars Anthony Hopkins as Corky a failed magician who spruces up his act with a touch of ventriloquism, his sidekick fats who bears frightening resemblance to Hopkins, eventually Corky hits the big time thanks to his manager played by Burgess Meredith, who catapults Corky in to fame, this is something that corky is scared of as he is due to undergo a medical before an all important appearance on television. Terrified at the prospect of his undisclosed 'problems' which may very well be schizophrenia. Corky and 'fats' flees to the Catskills mountains where he stays at an near deserted resort which is run by his former high school sweetheart played by Ann Margret, the rest of the film concentrates on a love affair between the pair, to complicate matters Meredith shows up with the intention of returning with his new found star but tragic unforeseen circumstances prevent him from returning, to further complicate matters Margret's husband played by very the underrated actor Ed Lauter shows up, Hopkin's and his sidekick plan a few surprises for the couple resulting in some of the finest acting in celluloid. the cinematography by victor j Kepler is excellent he utilizes Hopkins identity crisis to superb effect.
Really Worth Watching!
I found this film on youtube before it was taken down for copyright reasons. It features Anthony Hopkins, who also starred in the horror film Audrey Rose. This movie is not only creepy but also very sad. Corky grew up as an awkward kid in a small town. When he grows up he wants to be in show business, and takes care of his dying mentor, a former magician named Merlin Jr. During Corky's first performance he bombed, and incorporated a dummy look-alike of himself into his act, becoming hugely successful. He is almost hired by NBC to have his own TV show, but his Agent Ben Greene tells him he'll need a medical exam and he panics because of his secret mental disorders, running away to his childhood home only to find it empty and for sale, implying that his mother and brother are dead or forgot about him. He decides to rent out a secluded lakeside cabin in a dreary part of the Catskills town, owned by his high school crush, Peg. Her husband is on a business trip and she has changed from a popular high school cheerleader to a frumpy housewife. Corky still loves her and they begin a relationship, but Fats (the dummy) becomes jealous since it has its own personality provided by Corky and has become Corky's alter-ego. Soon Corky is discovered by Ben Greene and is threatened to be sent to an asylum. He kills Greene and dumps the body in the middle of the lake. Peg's husband Duke gets home and becomes jealous of Corky, and after finding Greene's body washed up on the shore is stabbed by Fats, who is operated by Corky. Soon Corky has to decide on whom to stick with for life, Peg or Fats. The film is exceptional, it doesn't rely on special effects and gore to be freaky. Anthony Hopkins did the voice of both Corky and Fats and was very good in both roles. The ending was pretty sad; when Fats wants Corky to stab Peg, Corky stabs himself instead to protect the girl he loves. The soundtrack was really good, who knew an accordion could be so eerie? My favorite quote was probably at the end when Corky says, "there was never me Fats, only us," and Fats says, "Shmuko... us was you. It was you the whole time." The line was somehow very effective. Fats was like the exact opposite of Corky; whereas Corky is polite and shy, Fats is outgoing, crude and has a never-ending bunch of swear words and sex jokes to say. The acting of the character Ben Greene was pretty good, and so was Peg's role. The scenery of the Catskills cabin property was beautiful; the big green trees and dark clouds and rain, there was never any sun at that place so it made the atmosphere eerie and pretty and mysterious. Anyone who is scared of dolls, dummies, etc. would find Fats very disturbing. There is a deeper part of Corky's past never revealed in the film, in the book he was always overlooked by his dad because of his Jock older brother and his mom was depressed most days. Peg was a cheerleader who was good friends with Corky in high school but had no idea he loved her because she was dating Duke. All in all the film is great to watch, it has a few comedic scenes but is meant to be serious. Not so much spooky as it is disturbing and sad.
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