7.7/10
8,031
29 user 46 critic

The Magician (1958)

Ansiktet (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama | 27 August 1959 (USA)
A traveling magician and his assistants are persecuted by authorities in Sweden of the 19th century. Their captures, however, didn't bring victory to those in power.

Director:

Ingmar Bergman

Writer:

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Max von Sydow ... Albert Emanuel Vogler
Ingrid Thulin ... Manda Vogler (alias Mr. Aman)
Gunnar Björnstrand ... Dr. Vergerus, Minister of Health
Naima Wifstrand ... Granny Vogler
Bengt Ekerot ... Johan Spegel
Bibi Andersson ... Sara Lindqvist
Gertrud Fridh ... Ottilia Egerman
Lars Ekborg ... Simson, the coach driver
Toivo Pawlo ... Police Superintendant Starbeck
Erland Josephson ... Consul Egerman
Åke Fridell ... Tubal
Sif Ruud ... 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:

Into the Nether-World! You'll Gasp At This Occult Hypnotic Experience Into the Supernatural! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Sweden

Language:

Swedish

Release Date:

27 August 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Magician See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

AGA Sound System

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character name Vergerus is one that recurs throughout Bergman's work and is generally associated with lack of emotion and heartlessness. See more »

Quotes

Police Superintendant Starbeck: Dr. Vogler, in our town's chronicles you advertised a performance promising all manner of thrills: "Sensational marvels never seen before. Magical acts derived from the philosophies of the Orient. Health-giving magnets, and spine-tingling thrills for the senses." Is that your announcement?
Tubal: [cutting in before Vogler can respond] Sir, these ostentatious formulations, offensive to any educated mind, are not the work of Dr. Vogler's hand.
Dr. Vergerus, Minister of Health: We'd be grateful if the doctor himself would answer the ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in At the Movies: Remembering Gene Siskel (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

 
I didn't die, but I haunt the living.
5 June 2009 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

Vogler's Magnetic Health Theater rolls into town and is promptly summoned for a meet with the town big wigs. Hoping to expose all involved in the theatre as charlatans, the disbelievers request a personal show before allowing the show to go public. With very interesting results.

There is a belief amongst many Ingmar Begman fans that Ansiktet (The Magician) is far too accessible a piece to be considered one of his greatest pieces. And whilst it does find Bergman more easy to understand for the casual viewer, it's however still complex enough to thrill and niggle the mind in equal measure. Taking two factors that he very much adored, masks and magic, Bergman threads them off into various directions, and in the process testing us the audience as to just what to expect from the story. The mysterious wonder of it all is naturally aided by Bergman's use of light and shadowy trickery, symbols loom heavy without dampening the theme on offer, with nothing of course actually quite being as it seems.

As is normally the case under the master director, the cast are uniformally strong. With Gunnar Bjornstrand and Ingrid Thulin particularly standing out. But really this is all about tricks and ideas relating to magic and its blending in with reality. So much so that with the end comes an awakening that we the audience are indeed props in one of Bergman's shows, and that can never be a bad or even an accessible thing.

A fascinating picture from a very fascinating director. 8/10


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