Magic 1978 ***


William Goldman’s excellent book, written with intimate, personal depth, was always going to be a tricky one to adapt, but Sir Richard Attenborough’s 1978 horror film makes the most of a creepy conceit, even if its misses the pathos. Anthony Hopkins plays Corky the ventriloquist who finds that his wooden pal Fats seems to be taking over his life, and stifling his hopes of romance. This conceit played beautifully in the classic portmanteau Dead of Night, and still works at feature-length, with good support from Burgess Meredith and Ann Margaret. Coming off the back of A Bridge Too Far, and working up to more epic Gandhi and A Chorus Line, Attenborough coaxes a complex, painful performance from Hopkins, who demonstrates why he’s been a sought-after talent for five decades.


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