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The Prestige: the real-life warring Victorian magicians who inspired the film

By Beatrice Ashton-Lelliott, Postdoctoral fellow, Victorian literature and magic, University of Portsmouth
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Warning: containers spoilers for The Prestige

After years of a cat and mouse chase across Europe, two magicians are ready to declare war on one another. One, bitter over the loss of his son after a bullet-catch gone wrong at his own hand, steals the other’s programme of tricks. The subsequent change in his act begins to gain traction with audiences.

The enemies talk of a “battlefield” where they can settle all the imagined slights, and perhaps even obtain the revenge they have longed for over the course of their professional rivalry – at one point going so far as…


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