Day Six of the 2010 Silver Shamrock Happy Halloween Countdown!

Happy Halloween Coundown Day Six


Richard Attenborough directs this creepy little movie based on a William Goldman novel of the same name.  It may be a bit of a strench, but try to imagine Anthony Hopkins playing the role of a shy psychotic who is obessessed with  Ann-Margaret. As I said, it’s a strench. Hopkins’ Corky Whithers is a talented magician, who has spent years learning the craft  while assisting Merlin, who by the beginning of the movie is dying.  Merlin’s final trick is to try turning the shy Corky into a full blown stage magician.  While Corky is talented, he has no stage presence and bombs miserably.

Later, Corky adds a saucy ventriloquist dummy to his act, which combined with his magic tricks, enables him to overcome his introverted nature, giving him the confidence to take command of an audience.  Corky’s career goes gangbusters.  He’s even offered a shot at a TV show.  I couldn’t help wondering what a TV show a featuring a ventriloquist-magician with Hopkins’ peculiar vibe might be like, especially in the context of what there was on TV in 1978.  A family situation comedy about a Kenosha, Wisconsin  man whose wife and kids are ventriloquist dummies?  I dunno.   Just stopping to think out it took me out of the movie for a moment.

Corky is offered a shot at the bigtime, but he has to sign the standard TV contract, which includes having a medical evaluation – a total deal breaker.  Corky’s agent, Ben Green (Burgess Meredith), tries to get the network to back off from medical evaluation while Corky flips out and returns to his rural hometown in the Catskills with Fats, his dummy.  Here he finds his high school love interest, Peggy (Ann-Margaret), and her husband, running a campground featuring a handful of small lakeside cabins.  It’s the off-season and nobody else it there.  Corky, pretending that he doesn’t recognize her, rents a cabin.  Peggy likewise plays it cool.  Corky, seriously bummed out that she doesn’t seem to remember him, decides to give it another go and heads up to the main house ostensibly looking for towels and soap.   They both drop the facade and soon it’s confession time.  Corky admits to having been in love with her since high school and she tells him that she had a crush on him.  Peggy adds more fuel to the fire by telling Corky that though she is married, she’s not really all that married (wink, wink).  While Corky is elated, Fats is less than happy about suddenly becoming a third wheel.  Ben Green shows up and confronts Corky about his mental stability and begins a chain of events which will turn out badly

If you are freaked out by the idea of Hannibal Lecter running around with a possibly possessed evil ventriloquist dummy, then this is the movie for you!

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