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Genres: Drama
Actors: Max von Sydow , Ingrid Thulin , Gunnar Björnstrand , Naima Wifstrand , Bengt Ekerot , Bibi Andersson , Gertrud Fridh , Lars Ekborg , Toivo Pawlo , Erland Josephson , Åke Fridell , Sif Ruud , Oscar Ljung , Ulla Sjöblom , Axel Düberg
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Country: Sweden
Year: 1958
IMDB Rating: 7.7/10 (3678 votes)

When ‘Vogler’s Magnetic Health Theater’ comes to town, there’s bound to be a spectacle. Reading reports of a variety of supernatural disturbances at Vogler’s prior performances abroad, the leading townspeople (including the police chief and medical examiner) request that their troupe provide them a sample of their act, before allowing them public audiences. The scientific-minded disbelievers try to expose them as charlatans, but Vogler and his crew prove too clever for them.

Film Review

An outstanding looking, very odd mix of somewhat broad comedy, horror film, and (of course) Bergman's metaphysical musings. A band of traveling magicians, wanted by the law as charlatans, are pulled in for questioning and forced to perform for some upper class non-believers. The 'nothing-in-life is-what-it- seems' theme is strong, but does get repetitive, and at times you can see it coming. Also, on first viewing the elements didn't really feel like they fit together, and I found it a bit of a bumpy ride. The comedy made the dark side hard to take seriously, and the serious, creepy elements made the comedy feel all the more wedged in.That said they are a some amazing sequences that I know will stick with me, and I do feel haunted by the film. Many call it a masterpiece or close, and I'll certainly see it again.

I didn’t expect to like this movie, given its period, headline subject matter etc. But don’t let those factors put you off, there is real depth and some top notch scenes in this surprisingly superb movie. Max von Sydow, Gunner Bjornstrand and Ingrid Thulin are three of Bergman’s most consistent quality performers and all three have major roles in this film. There are a fair number of stereotypical character parts, mostly performed by ensemble quality character actors. Bibi Andersson is capable of far more than her giggly girl part enables her to show in this film. Indeed, there is some comedic material in this film reminiscent of Smiles of a Summer Night, but don’t mistake this movie for one of Bergman’s less masterful light pieces, this has real depth and substance.There are some amazing bits of cinematography, especially the early scenes. The pacing of the movie is masterful, as is the clever use of parallels in the story – the failed actor "dying" and then reviving …

Some reviewers have set themselves out to compare The Magician squarely against Ingmar's previous two masterpieces, The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries and mark The Magician down, unfairly. It almost cannot be possible to attain the dizzy heights of adulation of those two and as such, we are treated something lighter and possibly, more enjoyable.Mr Bergman, in his long illustrious career covered many types of subjects. Starting with straightforward and rather dull dramas, through kitchen-sink (Ikea style?!!) and onto the darker shades of human psychology. And beyond, sometimes.The Seventh Seal succeeded due to its extraordinary storytelling and imagery – along with just about everything else. Wild Strawberries due to its poignancy and leading performances that resonated with a sense of recognition and support in its audience. Other titles offer dark, deep blackly brooding death obsessed monologues that brush against exquisite period dramas of superb detail and cinematography.T…

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