Egg Trick

The egg trick, David Devant

Dan North studies the interactions between stage magic and early cinema.
So, what is lost and gained when a magic trick is filmed? How do magic films compensate for the loss of liveness? First of all, there are two types of magic film – the first is when a trick is recorded “whole”, with a fixed camera and no camera tricks. See, for example, David Devant in The Egg-Laying Man, a brief record of one of the Egyptian Hall stalwart’s oldest tricks, plucking a succession of eggs from his own mouth. It’s a bit of sleight of hand, and while it’s clear that Devant is skilfully performing the illusion in real-time, he could easily have re-recorded it if something had gone wrong or if an ill-chosen camera angle had given away the secret at the first take.
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