Pocketful of Miracles – One of Frank Capra’s last movies Pocketful of Miracles is not so much about magicians but about pulling off an elaborate trick. Bette Davis plays a simple street peddler Apple Annie who has been writing to her daughter pretending to be rich. When her daughter says she will come and visit Annie finds a rich guy to help pull of an elaborate charade. As some of you know Chris’ dad was a magician and this was one of his personal favorites.
The Prestige - Arguably one of the best movies about magicians. Christopher Nolan’s tale of two magicians trying to out due each other is twisted and bizarre. Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale are great as the magicians and the supporting cast which included Michael Caine and Scarlett Johansson were outstanding. On another note this probably one of the few movies that is better than the book it was based on.
The Illusionist- Since The Illusionist came out the same year as The Prestige it tends to be overshadowed by it. But The Illusionist is a great movie also with Edward Norton gives a great performance as Eisenheim a master illusionist who falls in love with a woman out of his league.
The Great Gabbo- A cult favorite in the magic world. From 1926 The Great Gabbo is another one that isn’t quite about magicians but is about a ventriloquist. The Great Gabbo is one of the best ventriloquists around but he increasingly goes mad and uses his dummy as the his only means of expression.
Houdini – The 1953 film starred Tony Curtis with then-wife Janet Leigh. The movie was not exactly an accurate portrayal of Houdini’s life but did highlight some of his biggest escapes and had some high stakes drama.
An Honest Liar- This is the most recent movie on this list. This is a documentary about the life of master magician The Amazing Randi. We were lucky enough to catch it a the Milwaukee Film Festival last year and get to interview Mr. Randi himself. It follows his career from an escape artist to today where he has become an avid debunker of psychics and fortune tellers.
Make Believe- Another documentary from the Milwaukee Film Festival. This one played at the festival a few years ago and is a memorable one. The movie tells the story of kids from around the world who enter a magic tournament in Las Vegas. The story of the kids and their background is pretty inspirational.