A disturbed celebrity magician finds himself at the mercy of his murderous dummy, Fats. Seeking refuge from his new found fame, he heads to the isolated mountain retreat run by his high school love, Peggy, in hopes of starting a new life; but finds that Fats has no intentions of letting him off so easy.
Anthony Hopkins ... Charles "Corky" Withers / Voice of Fats
Ann-Margret ... Peggy Ann Snow
Burgess Meredith ... Ben Greene
Ed Lauter ... Duke
E.J. André ... Merlin
Jerry Houser ... Cab driver
David Ogden Stiers ... Todson
Lillian Randolph ... Sadie
Joe Lowry ... Club M.C.
Bob Hackman ... Father
Mary Munday ... Mother
Brad Beesley ... Young Corky
Scott Garrett ... Corky's brother
Director: Richard Attenborough
Nominated for Golden Globe
Codecs: XVid / MP3
Sir Richard Attenbourough does a fine job directing this film about a magician that has little charm, personality, or self-confidence who must take a dummy into his act to let himself become famous. The only trouble is that the fine line that exists between the dummy and the ventriloquist becomes much too fine.
Anthony Hopkins is really good as this shy, awkward man slowly descending into a world of madness as great success looms over the horizon. Hopkins also does the voice of the dummy, Fats, and lends his unique voice talents to create a very disturbing, eerie screen presence. The dummy is in many ways larger than life, and he steals almost every scene he is in. No supernatural puppet coming to life here, yet the character of Corky(Hopkins) gives his life to this dummy in a very unique way.
The film is suitably creepy with some very atmospheric shots. As one reviewer noted, the scene where Hopkins is to not speak through the dummy for five minutes is easily the best. Each moment of that scene passed with incredible tension. It is downright chilling in fact. The other actors do very well.
Burgess Meredith is made out to be much older that he was at the time, and I think he did a fantastic job. What can I say about Ann-Margaret. Stunning. She does a credible job acting, and let's face it, she looks like a million bucks(she even shows us more than expected as well). A spooky film, and a great screen performance by a much younger Anthony Hopkins.
* Mike Nichols briefly considered directing this film.
* After the success of A Bridge Too Far, producer Joseph E. Levine wanted to work with writer William Goldman and Richard Attenborough again that he bought the rights to Goldman's book with the intention of Attenborough directing. He accepted it because for the sake of financing his next film, Gandhi.
* Director Norman Jewison was set to direct the movie before Sir Richard Attenborough signed on.
* The role of Corky was originally offered to Jack Nicholson, but upon hearing that he would have to wear a hair-piece to play the role, Nicholson turned it down.
* Sir Laurence Olivier was set to play Ben Green, but had to drop out due to illness.
* The "Fats" dummy was created specifically to look like Anthony Hopkins.
* Upon seeing Fats for the first time, Hopkins was allowed to take the doll home to work with it. However, he was so unnerved by the doll that he called the consulting ventriloquist in the middle of the night, threatening to throw Fats into the canyon if someone didn't come get the doll immediately. Director Richard Attenborough ended up going to Hopkins's house to talk him down.