The Magician 1958 - Movie Review
It's not Bergman as his most tormented or saturnine, but it's thoroughly entertaining, more theatrical (in a good sense) than say Persona or In a Glass, Darkly, and still an unqualified masterpiece on a level of artistry that no one making films today seems to be able to achieve. It makes me think in some ways of Shakespeare's plays like the Henry IV with their mix of tragedy and comedy--all done with tremendous showmanship. I'll bet Orson Welles admired this film-- if he ever saw it.
Bergman seems almost forgotten today. Films like this one, Naked Night, Hour of the Wolf, Persona, etc., hardly ever crop up on TV or film festivals. When Bergman is represented, it's usually by The Seventh Seal (not my favorite, and a film that begs for a parody), Wild Strawberries, Smiles of a Summer Night (because of the musical version, no doubt), or Fanny and Alexander, which is more recent, and most important, in color. What a pity. The man created a body of work virtually unsurpassed in the second half of the 20th century.