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The 2006 film about rival magicians desperately trying to learn the secrets of each others tricks.

The China-man's trick

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Location: Insomnia, Norway
The Tesla/Edison rivalry metaphor aside, the Chung Ling Soo metaphor of The Prestige is really interesting to think about once knowing that back story. The author was inspired by Houdini when he wrote The Prestige if I remember correctly, which gives even more interesting thoughts.
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Location: Entre Chambéry et Grenoble !
tykjen wrote:The Tesla/Edison rivalry metaphor aside, the Chung Ling Soo metaphor of The Prestige is really interesting to think about once knowing that back story. The author was inspired by Houdini when he wrote The Prestige if I remember correctly, which gives even more interesting thoughts.


And Houdini was inspired by Robert Houdin :)

See, there's references everywhere. It might be the most complex Nolan movie for me.
Not my favourite, but there's so much in it !
Posts: 123
theweatherman wrote:Its a work of fiction, I didn't even know there was a real Chinese magician. The trick in the film actually proved to be a hint at Borden's secret and thus was essential to the plot of the film.


Fiction based on reality. The one magician really did pretend to be Chinese all of the time, until he got shot during a bullet-catch when he finally spoke in English. I'm pretty sure he was British. It's been a long time.

There was a recent discussion of this on IMDB..and it brought me back to read this again.

PS No one has answered the "How did he do this trick in real life?"
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Author - I am very interested in this. Will you be revealing the answer? I believe you are exposing this nuance in the film for the following reason:

People who subscribe to the idea that Tesla's machine actually works believe that scene represents a foreshadowing of Borden "living his trick." Only because of Borden's unique devotion to his own trick was he able to understand the Chinaman's trick so quickly while Angier remained dumbfounded. However, this is not the case at all!!

Once you understand that Tesla's machine never worked, you begin to see this scene in a whole new light. This is a foreshadowing to the final scene where Borden believes he knows Angier's trick (that the machine actually works) but he is, in fact, wrong again!
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It's a magician's secret. I won't expose it. But if someone guesses it correctly, I will PM them.
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Location: Australia
Well, if it wasn't fish-bowl in between the legs; then Borden's mentality of living as the magician is centred on a lie!

I guess that does fit in with the futility of what they are trying to accomplish.
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Think of it more this way. The magician created an illusion. He wasn't old, wasn't Chinese, and didn't have a bowl between his legs (and didn't use a trap door in the floor).

Borden's illusion is created when he is willing to chop off his own fingers. This makes it impossible for Angier to think that he had a twin.
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I'm sorry that I'm 2 years late on this conversation but I registered for this forum specifically to reply to this post. I don't know the answer based on any research but I'm pretty sure I know what it is.

Midget.

Midgetmidgetmidget.

His robe never reached the ground? So the little person had his legs roped to Chung's. The old shuffling man act was definitely part of the trick to give time yes and also because he had to carry a large amount of weight (partially taken on by the little person in his trousers). He wore an extra baggy robe during the trick and seemed slightly off-balance while shuffling almost exclusively side-to-side.

Midget.

(though to be fair it'd more likely be a dwarf since they're smaller, but I'm not sure exactly how much weight would have to be carried and where it would be stowed. The bowl, most of the water, and the fish with a little water were likely stowed 3 different places so each of them could share the weight, if it was a midget he could carry more but if it was a dwarf they could rope their feet together at the base instead of on top without anyone noticing).
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I just looked up the trick which Penn & Teller showed on a DVD special and realized I own those DVDs. Unfortunately there they don't show the whole trick but it's important to note that there are 3 people on stage during that version of the trick and magician's assistants are generally the ones doing a large portion of the tricks involved. There's no way the guy featured there has all those things under his robes. He probably has a bunch of them but the girls on either side each carry a significant portion of the load. If Penn & Teller did work this into their actual show I wish I had the money to go to Vegas and see it (but me wishing I could go see their show is a tautology anyway).
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