Saturday, September 21, 2013


(2013/U.S.A.)  Fox Lorber Kino.  D: Molly Bernstein.  Narrated by Dick Cavett.

14 years in the making, DECEPTIVE PRACTICE is a fun, profound documentary chronicling the real-life adventures of sleight-of-hand master Ricky Jay.  The film follows Ricky's 50s childhood to the present.  At a young age, Ricky is exposed (bombarded is more like it) to magic by his zany, amateur magician grandfather who introduces him to some of magic's legends like Al Flosso, Slydini and other's.  When Ricky's mentor grandpa passes away, Ricky feels like a stranger at home and hits the road at 16 to follow his passion.  He high tails it to Hollywood's famed Magic Castle where he enters the intense, underground world of the magical elite.  Here he meets and befriends masters like Dai Vernon and Charlie Miller.  Rapidly, Jay becomes a mainstay of the 70's and 80's prime time talk show circuit where he showcased his long-hair youthfulness and unique stealth card skills such as sinking playing cards into a watermelon!  As we follow Ricky's story further, we are treated to an amazing wealth of anecdotes, a brief history of modern day magic and a flurry of some astounding performance clips by Ricky and some of the greats from the turn of the century to the present day.  Some stand-out testimonials include Ricky's akido instructor and a journalist who relate some of Jay' s greatest feats.  We also learn about his special, long-term collaboration with playwright/filmmaker David Mamet.  Most impressive of all, is witnessing Jay's rise from a child performer on local TV to the zen Yoda-like master he is today.  DECEPTIVE PRACTICE is mandatory viewing for magic connoisseurs and a total joy for everybody else.  While you're at it, check out some of Jay's unique books including the mammoth Taschen tome, MAGIC: 1400's -1950's!  The film is currently playing the art house circuit in the U.S. and is available now on itunes and select streaming sites.  A DVD release date has not been announced yet.

I caught the film in Pelham, New York with Ricky Jay and the film's producers in attendance.

One of Jay's few hobbies is calligraphy as evidenced by his autograph.
Visit the movies official website: