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Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay Review

Official Review

December 10th, 2013 1:18am
Reviewed by Fredrick Turner
Documentaries are labors of love. While many have won awards and received great acclaim, a documentary director and her or his backers aren’t going to become rich like a Spielberg or a Coppola. They do it because they want to showcase an event, a story or a person. This is the case with Deceptive Practice. It's a well crafted biographical film of the life of magician, actor and writer, Ricky Jay.

Through the use of first person interviews and historical footage the viewer learns of the life and influences of Ricky Jay. These range from his grandfather, Max Katz to the greats of modern magic, Slydini, Dai Vernon and Charlie Miller. The story is supplemented with performance films of Jay from his early youth to appearances on the talk shows of the 1970's to his more recent shows like On The Stem. Throughout the film you will learn a great deal on Jay as well as magic’s history in the second half of the 20th century. If you pay attention, you’ll learn how Jay met his collaborator, Michael Weber.

The DVD includes the theatrical release as well as enough extras for an additional film. Also included is a PDF of the New Yorker feature by Mark Singer that inspired the film.

There aren’t many films made on magicians. Only a couple come to mind. There is Jeff McBride: A Magickal Life and A Magical Vision on Eugene Burger. Deceptive Practices like these two belong in your collection.

Product info for Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay

Author: Jay, Ricky
Average Rating:  (3)
Retail Price: $29.95
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Manufacturer's Description:


Ricky Jay is a world-renowned magician, author, historian and actor (often a mischievous presence in the films of David Mamet and Paul Thomas Anderson) -- and a performer who regularly provokes astonishment from even the most jaded audiences. DECEPTIVE PRACTICE traces Jay's achievements and influences, from his apprenticeship at age 4 with his grandfather, to such now-forgotten legends as Al Flosso, Slydini, Cardini and his primary mentors, Dai Vernon and Charlie Miller. Featuring rare footage from his 1970s TV appearances (doing 3-card Monte with Steve Martin on The Dinah Shore Show) and told in Jay's inimitable voice, this is a remarkable journey inside the secretive world of magic and the small circle of eccentrics who are its perpetual devotees.

DVD Features

  • Jay's Colleagues on Camera: Paul Thomas Anderson, Steve Martin, David Mamet, etc.
  • Mentors and Magic: Ricky Jay and Michael Weber
  • Bob Dylan Video featuring Ricky Jay
  • -Never-Before- Seen Performance Footage, Crazy Anecdotes and Animation
  • The New Yorker Festival with Mark Singer
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • The New Yorker Profile of Ricky Jay by Mark Singer (DVD-ROM)

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