Sunday, April 28, 2013

Deceptive Practices: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay

 "Sleight of hand" master and magic historian, Ricky Jay is profiled in this new documentary by Alan Edelstein and Molly Bernstein. Not only is it a wonderful peek into the world and mind of Mr. Jay but it is a fascinating look at the magicians who influenced him.

  We learn a little bit about his childhood including his desire to perform magic at the age of four.  Also his love for his grandfather, who encouraged him and introduced him to some of his early mentors. We learn about Slydini, Cardini, Dai Vernon (The Professor) as well as many more colorful characters and master magicians.

    Mr. Jay does not do "stage" magic like David Copperfield or Doug Henning but rather is a master at cards and "close-up" magic. In addition to the fantastic history lesson, we are treated to many of the effects, illusions and sleight of hand that have made him famous. Through archival footage (some of it quite old), we we also get to experience some of the illusions by the masters.

    There is quite a bit of video footage of Mr. Jay as well performing through the years and also interviews with fans and friends, such as David Mamet (Mr. Jay has acted in many of his films). It's a wonderful ninety minutes that I could have easily watched for ninety more. It also made me immediately want to see "The Spanish Prisoner" again. A wonderful and surprising film in it's own right.

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