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The Magician (1958)

Ansiktet (original title)
Approved | | Comedy, Drama | 27 August 1959 (USA)
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 ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Albert Emanuel Vogler
...
Manda Vogler (alias Mr. Aman)
...
Dr. Vergerus, Minister of Health
Naima Wifstrand ...
Granny Vogler
...
Johan Spegel
...
Sara Lindqvist
Gertrud Fridh ...
Ottilia Egerman
...
Simson, the coach driver
Toivo Pawlo ...
Police Superintendant Starbeck
...
Consul Egerman
Åke Fridell ...
Tubal
...
Sofia Garp
Oscar Ljung ...
Antonsson, burly stableman
Ulla Sjöblom ...
Henrietta Starbeck
Axel Düberg ...
Rustan, young manservant
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Storyline

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. Written by Tad Dibbern <DIBBERN_D@a1.mscf.upenn.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Spine-Chilling! Suspenseful! Mind Shattering! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

27 August 1959 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Magician  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character of Vogler was based on Bergman himself. See more »

Quotes

Ottilia Egerman: I've longed for you. My thoughts have been constantly with you. I've lived your life. Yet today's the first time I've laid eyes on you. Perhaps you're silently laughing at me. It doesn't matter. My love is strong enough for the both of us. Now I understand why you've come. Feel how my heart is beating. You're here to explain why my child died. What God meant. That's why you've come. To ease my sorrow and lift the burden off my shoulders.
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Connections

Referenced in The Siskel & Ebert 500th Anniversary Special (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

 
a Bergman film that's not depressing or about death!
8 July 2005 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

I've seen a lot of Ingmar Bergman films and sometimes I don't want to see one of his films about death or mental illness. Well, starting in the 1960s to the 1980s, these were the main themes of his movies, but in some of his earlier films, these are not so pervasive--such as the movies The Devil's Eye (a comedy) and The Magician ("Ansiktet"). Because of this, they may be more approachable to the average viewer who would balk at the much more serious tone of such classics as Through a Glass Darkly (deep depression), Persona (mental illness), Autumn Sonata (repressed anger and abandonment), The Seventh Seal (death and the plague) or Fanny and Alexander (child abuse and emotional neglect).

The story is about a traveling group of hoaxters who put on a show combining magic and "animal magnetism" (i.e., an early name given to hypnosis). When they arrive at a Swedish town, they are forced to come to an audience with the local official and his cronies who want to prove that the act is a fraud. Bergman really doesn't try to resolve this issue, but instead shows how the town officials are really rather petty and mean people. How this traveling group deftly survives this encounter is the main focus of the movie. I especially liked the portion of the movie about the autopsy. It sounds gross, but I thought it was actually kind of funny. One of the officials is a cold and rather nasty doctor who longs for a chance to do an autopsy on the hypnotist. He gets far more than he bargains for--that's all I really want to say--otherwise it might ruin the suspense.

So, overall I liked the movie. It was not great but well acted and not the least bit depressing.


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