Variety - 11/01/1978
"...[An] absorbing character study....An extraordinary performance by Anthony Hopkins....Attenborough, who is noted for his work with actors, again displays a flair for eliciting strong performances..."
New York Times - 03/21/2006
"[T]here is some first-rate scenery chewing going on, particularly from Burgess Meredith..."
Entertainment Weekly - 04/28/2006
"[Hopkins'] dextrous timing and Richard Attenborough's crafty direction make us wonder if the sleight of hand is something more ghoulish..." -- Grade: B+
Total Film - 09/01/2006 3 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he film succeeds as a haunting character study thanks to Hopkins' uncompromising lead."
Ultimate DVD - 09/01/2006 5 stars out of 5 -- "A gorgeously-shot film with Hopkins rising to a marvellous pitch of insanity by the end."
Description by OLDIES.com:
Academy Award winner Anthony Hopkins 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 guild 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, Magic's stellar performances and shocking conclusion make for gripping suspense from beginning to end.
A troubled nightclub performer is intimidated by his all-too-human dummy. The almost demonic puppet has an increasingly profound effect on the lives of the individuals with whom it comes into contact.
A screen adaptation of William Goldman's chilling novel of a ventriloquist's dummy that takes over his master's life. Ventriloquist Corky Fats finally gets the chance to make it big when his agent offers him a lucrative television deal. But Corky turns him down. Choosing instead to return to his boyhood home in the Catskills. There he is reunited with his childhood sweetheart, and meets her jealous husband. But things take a wicked turn when Corky's demonic dummy gets into the act. Soon its hard to tell who's the puppet and who's pulling the strings.