The story here is of small time stage magician Corky who is flopping. When he introduces foul-mouthed ventriloquist dummy Fats into his act, however, he takes off. But it seems that there is more to Fats than meets the eye. And when there is competition for Corky's affections...
Michael Redgrave in Dead Of Night is the first time I recall seeing a film about a dummy running the ventriloquist rather than vice versa, and Magic is a rather superior take on the same idea. The crux as far as the audience is concerned, of course, is whether there is something supernatural going on, or whether the vent is nuttier than a sack of almonds.
It doesn't matter, does it? The journey is what is important, and the journey here is great fun.
And Hopkins is superb. There is a scene towards the end where the struggle between Corky and Fats reaches its climax, and we see who is in charge. It is a scene where the performance could see easily go over the top, which would diminish the impact. Hopkins exercises restraint, and produces a sequence which I found terrifying.
Ann-Margaret and Burgess Meredith are both also very good, and credit must go to Richard Attenborough for taut direction in a piece which is not typical of his output.
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