7.7/10
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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 XIX century. Their captures, however, didn't bring victory to those in power.

Director:

Ingmar Bergman

Writer:

Ingmar Bergman
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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:
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:

Spine-Chilling! Suspenseful! Mind Shattering! 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

Production Co:

Svensk Filmindustri (SF) See more »
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

Avid Bergman fan Woody Allen says this film is his recommended starting point for watching Bergman. See more »

Quotes

Manda Vogler: It's meaningless.
Dr. Vergerus, Minister of Health: So I can put my mind at ease?
Manda Vogler: Yes, put your mind at ease. We can demonstrate our incompetence as often as you like.
Dr. Vergerus, Minister of Health: You seem to regret the fact and wish it were otherwise. But there are no miracles. It's always the props and the patter that must do the work. The clergy's in the same sad boat. God is silent while men babble on.
Manda Vogler: If just once...
Dr. Vergerus, Minister of Health: That's what they all say, "If just once..." For the nonbelievers, but especially for the believers. "If just once..."
Manda Vogler: If just once... ...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Masters: Woody Allen: A Documentary (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Surprisingly Superb
19 March 2003 | by ian_harrisSee all my reviews

I didn't expect to like this movie, given its period, headline subject matter etc. But don't let those factors put you off, there is real depth and some top notch scenes in this surprisingly superb movie.

Max von Sydow, Gunner Bjornstrand and Ingrid Thulin are three of Bergman's most consistent quality performers and all three have major roles in this film. There are a fair number of stereotypical character parts, mostly performed by ensemble quality character actors. Bibi Andersson is capable of far more than her giggly girl part enables her to show in this film. Indeed, there is some comedic material in this film reminiscent of Smiles of a Summer Night, but don't mistake this movie for one of Bergman's less masterful light pieces, this has real depth and substance.

There are some amazing bits of cinematography, especially the early scenes. The pacing of the movie is masterful, as is the clever use of parallels in the story - the failed actor "dying" and then reviving is a prelude to the pivotal incident around Vogler's "demise".

Top notch scenes include Mrs Egerman opening up to Vogler - she seems so lost - also both scenes in which Bjornstrand's character (Vergerus) insists that he was not taken in by the "magic".

This is now in my Bergman top 5, which makes it a "must see" in my book.


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