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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


Magic [Blu-ray]


(Richard Attenborough, 1978)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Video: Dark Sky Video



Region: A-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:46:56.410

Disc Size: 32,377,289,932 bytes

Feature Size: 27,492,717,312 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.98 Mbps

Chapters: 13

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: October 12th, 2010



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit



English (SDH), none



Screenwriting For Dummies (15:58)

• Fats and Friends (26:43)

• Victor Kemper Cinematographer (11:23)

Ann-Margret Make-up Test (1:18)

• Anthony Hopkins radio Interview (3:14)

• Trailer (2:08)

• Anthony Hopkins Interview (6:08 - Italian TV in English)

• TV and Radio Spots (English and Spanish)





Description: Academy AwardŽ-winner Anthony Hopkins (SILENCE OF THE LAMBS) is Corky, a painfully shy, failed magician who finds overnight success as a ventriloquist. His brash, foul-mouthed dummy, Fats, becomes a huge nightclub hit. With his star on the rise, talent agent Ben Greene (Burgess Meredith) arranges an important shot at national TV. But the pressure of failing the network’s required physical sends Corky into a panic. With Fats in tow, he flees the city to a nearly-deserted resort in the Catskills run by the love of his youth, Peggy Ann Snow (Ann-Margret).


Peg’s spent years trapped in a loveless marriage with her high-school sweetheart, Duke. In Corky, she sees the chance for a loving relationship and accepts an offer to run away with him. After they make love, Corky confides to Fats that he may leave show business altogether. Fats becomes furious and lashes out at him, playing on his guilt and insecurity. Now under Fats’ control, Corky is manipulated into a series of violent and unexpected confrontations.

Based on the best–selling novel by William Goldman and directed by Sir Richard Attenborough (A BRIDGE TOO FAR, GANDHI), MAGIC’s stellar performances and shocking conclusion make for gripping suspense from beginning to end.



The Film:

Richard Attenborough is not typically a director that one associates with screen horror, his name usually calling to mind such sweeping epics as Gandhi, Cry Freedom, or Chaplin. However, in 1978, Attenborough broke tradition and directed a small, intimate horror film: Magic. Based on a novel by William Goldman (of The Princess Bride and Marathon Man fame), Magic is indeed a frightening film. It is not, however, the shocks that make it memorable. What makes this film special is the thought that has been put into it and the conviction of its performances. Boasting a sadness and a nasty sense of horror, Magic avoids the campyness that is usually associated with movies about living dolls. Instead, Magic takes the serious approach, using Fats, the sentient ventriloquist dummy, as a means of exploring the effects of a split personality, and the damage it can cause when left untreated. The result is a quiet horror film that is as potent and terrifying as Halloween or The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.

Excerpt from Eric Miller at Horror located HERE


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Solid image on Blu-ray from Dark Sky Films showing good, even, grain.  It is clean and reminds me of a Blue Underground transfer exporting the integrity of the film. This is dual-layered with excellent detail and some depth. Contrast and colors appear adept - perhaps a shade dull. There is a touch of noise here and there but no significant black-marks. This seems a healthy step-up from SD-DVD.  Magic probably didn't look too different over 35-years ago theatrically. This Blu-ray has a strong bitrate and pleasing, consistent, visuals. No complaints.


















Audio :

Like the image a similarly competent clean audio rendering with a lossless liner 2.0 channel. There is very little aggression in the film and the score only becomes notable a few times. Dialogue, including `Fats` is consistent and easily audible. There is no range or depth but bass can be prominent in few tense sequences but obviously this is no demo track. There are optional English subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region A-locked.



Extras :

Supplements consistent of a hodge-podge of over an hour's worth of stuff that looks to have been duplicated from the 2006 DVD. Screenwriting For Dummies runs 16-minutes and has William Goldman discussing the evolution of his story. Fats and Friends peers deeper into the ventriloquist profession, we get 10+ minutes with Victor Kemper the cinematographer, a minute of Ann-Margret's natural 'bedroom eyes' in a make-up test, some Hopkins interviews, a trailer and TV and Radio spots. Not a bad lot considering...



Another example of a film that critics despised and many everyday film fans totally embraced. Attenborough does something 'magical' here although it is hard to pinpoint how this really works. Hopkins performance as a schizophrenic is intentionally quirky and mysterious adding an intriguing sauce to the mix. Margret, Meredith - both fabulous.... perhaps it's the whole ventriloquist milieu that has appeal - certainly for a horror-esque effort although the director keeps things within the realm of realism- a strong positive. Anyway, the Blu-ray is solid - looking and sounding better than expected - there are some viable extras - yes, we are recommending - an enigmatic film you should see at least once in your life. Then you may end up revisiting every few years...

Gary Tooze

October 10th, 2010





About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze








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