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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Well-Crafted But Rather Bland

Author: Snow Leopard from Ohio
9 November 2004

There are lots of visual effects and camera tricks in this short feature about "Magic Bricks", and most of them work well. Evaluated solely in terms of technique, it's quite good. The material itself, though, is rather bland, with only a couple of really interesting moments.

The movie shows two conjurers performing an act together, using boxes, blocks, and other similar props. Except for one or two of the tricks later in the show, most of their tricks are not especially interesting in themselves, and the main reason to watch this film is to see how the camera was used to create illusions that would otherwise have been difficult or impossible to make.

Most of the visual effects work well, and they give the appearance of having been set up and filmed with care. The film was also hand-tinted in color, although much of the color has now faded. The technical and production end are pretty good, and they make it watchable in spite of the somewhat drab nature of the material itself.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Fingers in the Air

Author: JoeytheBrit from
19 June 2009

No doubt this film was intended to wow early 20th century audiences with its conjuring tricks but, of course these are not so impressive today. After all, to show a magician's 'tricks' through the use of stop-motion photography defeats the object really: the magic's being performed behind the camera here rather than in front of it.

What I liked about the film was the two Chinese assistants who magically appear from the conjurer's magic box, both grinning inanely with their index fingers pointing skywards. It was probably a racial stereotype back then, but it made me laugh. Check them out holding a smiley, pointy-fingers-in-the-air conversation in the background while the magician goes about his business. Hilarious.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Sure, it's a complete knock-off, but it's still entertaining

Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
15 September 2006

This film is very entertaining, and if I had not already seen "Le Thaumaturge Chinois" by Georges Méliès, I would have no doubt scored it higher. That's because "Le Thaumaturge Chinois" was in many ways the exact same film but made several years earlier! It was not very uncommon in the early days of cinema for studios to plagiarize the work of their competitors. Today, they would have no doubt been sued for this, but in the "wild and crazy" days of early cinema, it was not very unusual. However, I also have to admit that Magic Bricks perhaps a little better AND it also is totally hand-colored! Nice stuff, but hardly original!

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Of course it is simple but it is technically impressive and is a great experimental short

Author: bob the moo from United Kingdom
21 April 2007

Two magicians make people appear and disappear in front of our very eyes in this colourful French short film. Modern audiences will not be amazed at all by the appearing and disappearing characters but at the time I can imagine it was met with "how did they do that" gasps. However watching it now is still a wonderful experience because this was almost exactly a hundred years ago when this sort of thing was new and being thought up as these films were made. New ideas were being taken and expanded upon and used in different ways.

This film simply gives the producers a structure to play within. There is some humour but really this is all about the visual effects and with the colours on top of that it makes it interesting to watch when you have a feel for what the historical context you are watching it within.

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0 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

VERY impressive for its time

Author: Squirrel-5 from Philadelphia suburbs
13 April 2003

This film has special effects which for it's time are very impressive. Some if it is easily explainable with the scenes played backwards but the overlay of moving images on an object on film is surprisingly well done given that this film was made more than 94 years ago.

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0 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

chinese magic at his best

Author: karl van rooy from netherlands
30 June 2002

this movie is very familiar to george melies movie tchin chao the chinese conjurer from 1904 but melies worked with living animals and pathe did not he uses some other techniques,i see it as a remake of melies work.

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