When it comes to magicians in London arguably Harry Potter is the most well-known for famously disappearing into Platform 9 3/4. However, as whimsical as Harry Potter may be, neither the books nor the resulting films, deal with what we know to be stage magic.
Real magic is just an illusion, a trick performed in such an impressive way that it seems impossible, but that doesn’t mean that it is any less entertaining!
However, there are a number of films, some of them also based on novels, which deal with illusionists and the art of stage magic. Though there have been a goodly number of films made about magicians and their exploits, below are three that have received both critical and box office acclaim!
Set in 19th Century Austria, the film follows the fate of the famous magician Eisenheim played by Edward Norton. The film begins in the midst of things with Eisenheim on stage, he is about to perform a trick of some sort but is promptly arrested by the police. Though the reason behind his arrest becomes clear as the film goes on, which we won’t spoil here, the film shows some good tricks and plays on the idea of misdirection and illusion. The film, directed by Neil Burger, is loosely based on a short story by Steven Millhauser.
Also set at the turn of the 20th century, this film deals with two magicians, The Great Danton and The Professor, who are played by Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale and how a personal tragedy forces them into a bitter rivalry to create the best on-stage illusion. The film itself shows a lot of the nitty-gritty details associated with being a professional magician at that time, as well as some graphic scenes in which tricks go wrong, resulting in injury and on occasion death. Directed by the well-known Christopher Nolan, the film is also based on a novel by Christopher Priest. The movie uses the same tag line “the setup, the performance, and the prestige” which relates to the three parts of any magic trick.
The most recent film on our list, directed by Louis Leterrier, Now You See Me is something of a Robin Hood tale with 4 magicians using their magic to steal from the rich and give to the needy. Needless to say, since there is magic involved it isn’t as simple as that. Though this film has a tendency to portray magicians as nigh on super heroes who can use their tricks to get them out of any situation (if only) it has a cracking ending and some of the sleight of hand and card tricks in this film are very deft indeed.
So there you have it! As mentioned, this is by no means an exhaustive list, magic and magicians feature in a number of films which just goes to show the timeless popularity of the craft. If you want to take a leaf from the movies and feel that you need a talented magician to add a bit of class to your London event, get in touch with Oliver B!