"Ingmar Bergman's 1958 supernatural caper The Magician is one of those movies where nothing is as it seems, everything has two explanations, and the very notion of the "knowable" is called into question. Its knotted narrative is full of tricks and surprises, some obvious and others not so much, and by the end, Bergman has pulled off his own cinematic magic trick, leaving the audience wondering just which of his flickering illusions to believe. The Magician opens in a Swedish forest somewhere near the tail end of the industrial age. We move in on a traveling sideshow led by one Dr. Vogler (Max von Sydow). Amongst his group are the master of ceremonies Tubal (Ake Fridell), Vogler's grandmother (Naima Wifstrand), the androgynous Mr. Aman (Ingrid Thulin), and the carriage driver, Simson (Lars Ekborg). We are given multiple explanations as to what this band of performers does. They regularly insist on their own lack of veracity--they do tricks for show, nothing more. They sell noxious potions that are really interchangeable and have no actual effect. Or do they? Granny is a witch, so maybe she does know some magic spells. Dr. Vogler is also said to be a master hypnotist who heals people with magnets. Tall, dark, and bearded, Vogler is an imposing figure; he is also mute. In the woods, the troupe finds an ailing actor (Bengt Ekerot). They take him in their carriage, and he dies before the group reaches civilization. They take the body to the police, but find they are in trouble for other infractions. Their various reputations precede them. The performers are hauled before a tribunal of three: a smug police chief named Starbeck (Tovio Pawlo), a local scientist called Dr. Vergerus (Gunnar Björnstrand), and Consul Egerman (Erland Josephson), a town dignitary. They demand Vogler and his people account for themselves, and even push for a demonstration of the Doc's powers. It turns out that Vergerus and Egerman have a bet going. Vergerus believes that all this world has to offer is what science can verify, whereas Egerman insists there are unquantifiable forces always at work. Most of The Magician takes place over the tense night in custody at Egerman's home. The various members of Vogler's crew interact with Egerman's staff, seducing them and demonstrating their special talents. There is a subtle comment on class here: the more common folk believe in religion and magic, the more affluent and educated do not. Yet, as Bergman holds back the curtain and shows us things that defy rational explanation, who are we to side with? The dead actor wanders the house as a ghost, interacting with Granny and Vogler. A thunder storm brings strange portents. Passions are stirred. Mrs. Egerman (Gertrud Fridh) is drawn to Vogler. She claims to want the psychic to explain the recent death of her daughter, but her heaving bosom suggests she desires more. Likewise, Vergerus makes no bones about his interest in Aman, though Aman proves more loyal than he expected--all the more frustrating, as what Vergerus perceives as Vogler's charlatanism represents everything the scientist hates. "