Parallel Prestiges

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In 1995 author Christopher Priest combined the themes of fantasy, history, science fiction and mystery to create his novel The Prestige. This World Fantasy Award winning novel explores jealousy and envy as it tells the story of “Two magicians, of wholly different characters, that have fallen into a feud, each trying to outdo the other on stage and in their personal lives” (Ottinger). With such a mysterious and intricate plot, a reader may be torn between watching the movie adaptation or leaving the original plot of the novel preserved in his mind. While the novel uses dated journal entries to unravel the tale and set the scene (Foley), the movie uses flashbacks to show glimpses of the magicians’ secretive lives. Director Christopher Nolan focused on period details and carefully crafted scenes of historical value to stick with the setting of the book, which was the 19th century, while Priest wrote descriptive narratives that allow a reader to immerse himself in the characters’ world. Nolan worked with dedicated cast and crewmembers to maintain the sophistication and the mysterious nature of Priest’s novel.

The dedicated cast and crewmembers of this film worked to be historically accurate not just mentally with their speech and mannerisms, but also physically. The two primary characters of this film are dressed in traditional garb of the time period like top hats, tailored suits and pointed collars. “At the center are two ambitious young magicians, Rupert ‘Robbie’ Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Christian Bale)” (Foley). Bale portrays Borden as a natural magician who practices regularly and is envious and spiteful of his rival, because the two men share such a bitter history. On the other hand, Jackman acts soph...

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...has been cut out, but Nolan made sure to keep the plot honest and to only cut out parts that would not disrupt the main idea of the film.

Works Cited

Burr, Ty. “It’s magician vs. magician in ‘Prestige’.” 2006. The Boston Globe. Web. 6 January


Foley, Scott William. “The Prestige by Christopher Priest – A Book Review.” The Times.

2008. Web. 12 January 2010.

Ottinger III, John. “Book Review: The Prestige by Christopher Priest.” 2008. Science Fiction

And Fantasy Book News & Reviews. Web. 20 January 2010.

Phillips, Michael. “Movie Review: ‘The Prestige’.” 2007. Tribune Movie Critique. Web. 15

January 2010.

The Prestige. Touchstone Pictures, 2006. DVD.

Priest, Christopher. The Prestige. New York: Tom Doherty Associates, 1995. Print.

Wu, Steven. “The Prestige.” 2005. Steven Wu’s Book Reviews. Web. 12 January 2010.
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