Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...
Movie InfoAnthony Hopkins is a ventriloquist psychologically tormented by his dummy in the Richard Attenborough thriller Magic (a film with a story that may seem familiar to those who have seen the Michael Redgrave segment of Dead of Night, or the Cliff Robertson episode "The Dummy" from The Twilight Zone television series). William Goldman based his screenplay on his best-selling novel. Hopkins plays Corky, a seedy magician who is hooted off the stage in the low-rent clubs that will stoop to hire him. But when he comes across a dummy named Fats, his career is energized. Corky sees in Fats everything he lacks himself -- confidence, creativity, and verbal agility. With the help of his agent Ben Greene (Burgess Meredith), Corky rises to the top of the nightclub circuit. But with Corky's success comes an increased paranoia, and he turns down a TV contract, believing that it would mean taking a medical examination and that rumors of his mental instability might leak out. Corky takes off to a Catskills resort, run by Peggy Ann Snow (Ann-Margret), an old girlfriend now unhappily married to a volatile hick (Ed Lauter). While a frustrated Ben high tails it to the Catskills to find Corky, Corky discovers that he still has feelings for Peggy, but lands in the middle of a love triangle between the woman and her husband, where his schizophrenic personality manifests itself and additional murders occur. … More
No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.
Critic Reviews for Magic
In adapting his own best-seller, William Goldman has opted for an atmospheric thriller, a mood director Richard Attenborough fleshes out to its fullest.
A hammed-up version of the old chestnut about the ventriloquist who is 'taken over' by his dummy, clumsily adapted by William Goldman from his own novel.
Magic is neither eerie nor effective. It is, however, very heavy of hand.
Magic has few scary moments and is really a rather maudlin examination of a nervous breakdown.
Because of Hopkins, because of Ann-Margret (who hardly looks like that Ann-Margret, adeptly proving herself as an occasional dramatic actress), and because of Burgess Meredith as well as Fats the dummy, "Magic" is one of the top-notch films of the 1970s.
A very well-crafted suspense-thriller that unfolds with one dramatically tense scene after another. Hopkins is superb.
Very likely to produce nightmares.
Still creepy story of Hopkins and his psychotic dummy.
Good cast can't keep this thriller afloat.
It's no dummy!
Audience Reviews for Magic
Though Magic scores no points for originality - old hat even then, the theme of a ventriloquist's personality being taken over by that of his dummy had been perfected over 30 years earlier in a segment of the Ealing portmanteau Dead of Night, starring Michael Redgrave, and had been recycled not once but twice since in different episodes of The Twilight Zone - it's still a well-crafted and solidly entertaining minor horror movie. If I'm honest, Anthony Hopkins has a tendency to overplay at times but Ann-Margret and Burgess Meredith offer excellent support.More
Richard Attenborough crafts a disturbing psychological horror yarn with a good cast. The film stars Anthony Hopkins as a ventriloquist who can't separate himself from his dummy, and slowly loses his mind. At times there film could have been improved upon, and considering it's idea, should have been a far better film, but as it is it's a tense, atmospheric picture that manages to be entertaining due to the casts performances. Where the film lacks however is that it feels like it tries too hard with its interesting idea, therefore it loses sight of what's really going on. Luckily Hopkins is chilling in his performance and he makes the film watchable and good. However, at times the film does leave a lot to be desired in terms of sheer terror and memorable chills. The idea is disturbing, but the terror is never quite there. At least the film has some tense atmosphere to make up for the lack effective scares. Anthony Hopkins is very good here, but he would later deliver afar superior performance in his legendary role of Hannibal Lecter in the horror masterpiece Silence of the Lambs. Magic is a good film, but it does fall short of its potential. Worth seeing if you enjoy Hopkins' work, and Dummy/doll movies. However there are far better films in the genre to be watching than this one. Don't go into this one expecting a memorable horror film, because you won't find it. Like I said, the film is good, but doesn't hold up in the long run in terms of terror. It's atmospheric yes, and disturbing, but it never goes deeper in terms of trying to find what's really terrifying. Magic is a good little film, but don't expect to be terrified when you watch this.More
William Goldman is a brilliant writer. Combine that with the directing talent of Richard Attenborough and the acting talent of Anthony Hopkins and the wonderful and still sorely missed Burgess Meredith and you have the recipe for a near perfect film. By far my favourite horror based on Schizophrenia (there seems to be many these days). Corky/Fats is far frightening than Hannibal and Chucky put together in my opinion. A great film from an era that I particularly enjoy, the late 70's produced some ace films!More
Discuss Magic on our Movie forum!