The Prestige (2006) Poster



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Chung Ling Soo was a stage character created by a Caucasian American man, William Ellsworth Robinson, who disguised himself as a Chinese man to cash in on audiences' enthusiasm for the exotic. Robinson lived as Chung, never breaking character while in public. He died in March 1918, when a bullet-catch trick went wrong. "My God, I've been shot" were both his last words and the first English he had spoken on stage in nineteen years.
Nikola Tesla was a world-renowned inventor, physicist, and engineer. For a while, he conducted electrical experiments at his lab in Colorado Springs, where he was also known for his eccentric behavior.
Sam Mendes wanted to do the film as his followup to American Beauty (1999), which had just been nominated for seven Academy Awards. Another offer came from Newmarket Films (U.S.) on behalf of Christopher Nolan, of whom Christopher Priest had never heard. Priest was prepared to close the deal with Mendes, when a VHS copy of Nolan's Following (1998) was delivered to his house by motorbike (Memento (2000) was still in post-production). Priest was impressed, and chose Nolan (in part to also support a new filmmaker over an established one).
The word "prestige" originally meant a trick, from the Latin "praestigium," meaning "illusion."
Borden's infant is played by one of director Christopher Nolan's children.
The Prestige is one of three 2006 films to feature both the topic of magic and magicians as main characters. The other two are The Illusionist (2006) and Scoop (2006), the second of which also stars Hugh Jackman and Scarlett Johansson.
Ricky Jay, who played a magician in the film, coached Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale in their sleight-of-hand techniques.
The main characters' initials spell ABRA (Alfred Borden Robert Angier), as in Abracadabra, a common word used by magicians.
The secret to the goldfish bowl trick seen near the beginning of the film is in the table. The bowl is actually on the table during the entire illusion. What you see before the illusionist covers it with a sheet is a tablecloth that is carefully arranged to look like the actual base of a table. A duplicate tablecloth is held in place by the bowl, collapsed upward into the actual table platform. When the magician covers the table with the sheet, he lifts the bowl up, which loosens the lower tablecloth. He needs simply to conceal the original tablecloth within the sheet and discard both outside of the audience's attention in order for the trick to succeed.
When Andy Serkis' character is first introduced, he makes a reference to a magic trick where you guess the item in a person's pocket. This is the exact same trick that fooled Serkis' character Gollum in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012).
Alfred Borden takes on the stage name of "The Professor." This is the nickname that was given to many magicians at this time (Professor Hoffman, Professor Otto Hermann Professor Tucan) Dai Vernon. Most notably Dai Vernon bore the nickname, the man many consider to be the best modern day sleight-of-hand magician.
Ricky Jay, a legendary sleight of hand artist, Guinness record holder, and magic historian makes a cameo as Milton, a stage magician. While Ricky Jay is an accomplished close-up performer he does not usually perform stage illusions.
In the bullet-catching scene, you can clearly see the name Harry Dresden on the list of performers under "The Professor." Harry Dresden is a fictional wizard in "The Dresden Files," a series of books by novelist Jim Butcher, and later the basis of The Dresden Files (2007).
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die," edited by Steven Schneider.
Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall also appeared in Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008). Furthermore, they later joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and had their Marvel debuts in an Iron Man (2008) sequel.
Six of the film's stars have played roles in several comic book films. Christian Bale and Sir Michael Caine have appeared as Batman and Alfred respectively in Christopher Nolan's own "Dark Knight trilogy." Hugh Jackman played Wolverine in the X-Men franchise. Scarlett Johansson played Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Rebecca Hall appeared as Maya Hansen in Iron Man Three (2013). Andy Serkis played Captain Haddock in The Adventures of Tintin (2011), as well as Ulysses Klaue in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).
This is one of two Christopher Nolan films in which a character has a two-headed coin. The other one was The Dark Knight, in which Harvey Dent a.k.a. Two-Face used one to decide his fate or the fate of his victims.
One of two movies released in the fall of 2006 to star Hugh Jackman and Andy Serkis. The other is Flushed Away (2006).
When Hugh Jackman's character arrives in Colorado Springs, he is actually arriving at the Darien Ranch in the Western Colorado town of Marble, where the scene was filmed. Colorado Springs is in Eastern Colorado.
The film cast includes two Oscar winners, Christian Bale and Sir Michael Caine, and one Oscar nominee, Hugh Jackman.
Josh Hartnett was considered for the part of Robert Angier.
Christian Bale's character is named Alfred. In the Batman films, Christian Bale's butler, played by Sir Michael Caine, is named Alfred.
"The Prestige" is the only non-Batman movie to date Christian Bale has worked with director Christopher Nolan on.
Christopher Nolan's and Sir Michael Caine's second film together.
Christopher Nolan's and Christian Bale's second film together.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Sarah's line, "I know what you are," was not in the script. Rebecca Hall said that she felt terrible right after she said it, thinking she had given away the ending.
Early on in the movie, Sarah's nephew asks of the bird, "Where's his brother?" It is a clear foreshadowing of the fact that Borden has a twin brother.
When Nikola Tesla's machines are being exhibited in the Royal Albert Hall, a man in the audience protests that Tesla's electrical current is unstable. Later in the movie, the same man appears in Colorado Springs as one of Thomas Edison's associates, thus proving that magicians are not the only ones who hide within their rivals' audiences.
David Bowie initially declined the role of Nikola Tesla when it was offered to him. Christopher Nolan flew out to him personally to tell him that he was the only person he imagined for the role and that his larger than life persona would make the idea of Tesla building a teleportation device believable. Upon hearing this, David Bowie changed his mind and took the role.
The editing includes 146 time jump cuts, in which the next shot either flashes back or skips ahead to another time period of the storyline. This averages to almost one timeline jump per minute of film.
Root, the on-stage double of Angier (Hugh Jackman), announces that he has played Faust and Caesar in the past. Both were famously portrayed on stage as men destroyed by their own ambition, as Angier eventually is.
The use of twins in a "transported man" magic show was, in fact, quite common when the movie takes place.
Angier's double mumbles a few lines from a speech while rehearsing on stage before his first performance. What he is saying is actually the words of Harry Percy (Hotspur) from William Shakespeare's Henry IV, when called to appear before the king and explain his failure to turn over prisoners after a recent battle in Scotland. Apparently, Hugh Jackman has used this speech in previous auditions. Presumably, it was believed that having the double deliver a few lines from Shakespeare would lend him an actorly air, as his character is, in fact, a dissolute stage actor.
Christopher Nolan has never had a movie rated as "rotten" on Rotten Tomatoes and his lowest rated movie used to be The Prestige (2006) at 76 percent; it's now "Interstellar" at 71%.
The in the hands vanishing bird cage was actually developed and performed successfully for many years by Harry Blackstone Senior. His son, Harry Blackstone Junior also performed the trick successfully for many years.

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