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Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay (2012)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 4 October 2012 (USA)
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Ricky Jay is a world-renowned magician, author, historian and actor (often a mischievous presence in the films of David Mamet and Paul Thomas Anderson) -- and a performer who regularly ... See full summary »


Molly Bernstein



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Credited cast:
Ricky Jay ... Himself
Winston Simone Winston Simone ... Himself - Ricky Jay's Manager
Dick Cavett ... Himself - Narrator (voice)
David Mamet ... Himself - Writer & Director
Persi Diaconis Persi Diaconis ... Himself - Professor of Statistics and Mathematics, Stanford University
Michael Weber Michael Weber ... Himself - Ricky Jay's Partner
Fred Neumann Fred Neumann ... Himself - Deputy Sheriff, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office
Suzie Mackenzie Suzie Mackenzie ... Herself - Journalist, The Guardian
Chrisann Verges Chrisann Verges ... Herself - Ricky Jay's Wife
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Roy Benson Roy Benson ... Himself - Magician (archive footage)
Francis Carlyle Francis Carlyle ... Himself - Magician (voice) (archive footage)
Hugh Fitzgerald ... Hugh Fitzgerald
Al Flosso Al Flosso ... Himself - Magician (archive footage)
Al Hirschfeld Al Hirschfeld ... Himself - Artist (archive footage)
Steve Martin ... Himself - Comedian (archive footage)


Ricky Jay is a world-renowned magician, author, historian and actor (often a mischievous presence in the films of David Mamet and Paul Thomas Anderson) -- and a performer who regularly provokes astonishment from even the most jaded audiences. Deceptive Practice traces Jay's achievements and influences, from his apprenticeship at age 4 with his grandfather, to such now-forgotten legends as Al Flosso, Slydini, Cardini and his primary mentors, Dai Vernon and Charlie Miller. Featuring rare footage from his 1970s TV appearances (doing 3-card Monte with Steve Martin on The Dinah Shore Show) and told in Jay's inimitable voice, this is a remarkable journey inside the secretive world of magic and the small circle of eccentrics who are its perpetual devotees. Written by First Run Features

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Plot Keywords:

stage magician | See All (1) »




Not Rated


Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

4 October 2012 (USA) See more »


Box Office


$500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,527, 26 April 2013, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$151,389, 29 September 2013
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Kino Lorber See more »
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Technical Specs



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Did You Know?


Gypsy Nights
Performed by The David Grisman Quintet (as David Grisman Quintet)
Written by David Grisman
Published by Dawg Music, BMI
Usage Courtesy of Acoustic Disc
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User Reviews

Misses the mark
7 June 2013 | by BBBSee all my reviews

I can see the director's problem here. Ricky Jay doesn't have much to say about his family, left home young, got a job bar tending which led to magic act bookings. Please exit at the rear of the theater. Not much to work with there so we get into the figures he grew up with. When he was young he hung out with his grandfather Max Katz (insert biography here, show vaudeville photos.) He introduced Ricky to Cardini (insert biography here, show vaudeville photos.) Then he hung out with these other two sleight of hand greats (insert biography...you get the idea.) I guess in the end we learn that Ricky Jay has an interesting talent but an entirely uninteresting life. The coverage of the other magicians is so overpowering that this can hardly be called a Ricky Jay biography. This may have played better if it were about all of these past talents with Ricky Jay as the host, rather than pretending he were the center of the film.

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