WHY MOVIES SHOW HOW THE MAGIC TRICK WAS DONE. In this post, entitled TELLER AND THE JELLY DOUGHNUT, I pointed out that it is considered a great sin for a magician to explain to a layman how a magic trick is done. And yet that post explains how Teller survived being run over by an 18 wheeler truck in Times Square. Robert Douglas Fairhurst in a review of the movie sequel “Now You See Me 2” in the TLS (July 8), reviews the history of magic in the movies. He begins with movies made in the late 1800’s by George Melies, in one of which a giant lobster turns into a woman.
I realize that any movie about magic has to solve the problem that from the very beginning of the movies every magic trick in a movie could be simply done by editing (and now by tools like CGI). The “Now You See It” movies solve the problem by showing how the magician characters in their movie perform their tricks. For example, at the end of this second movie, there is a trick similar to a three card monte display, but with six foot high playing cards. The movie shows the trick and later the characters show how it was done in the “stage show” in the movie.