Channing Pollock in the film Judex
Here’s a clip of the greatest and most influential magician who’s ever done dove magic: Channing Pollock. Pollock does magic at a fancy costume ball as the disguised hero of the 1963 movie Judex, made by the great French director Georges Franju, who also did the similarly surreal horror film Eyes Without a Face.
In this scene, what makes Pollock’s magic work is not only his considerable deceptive magical skills (all the magic was filmed live), but the idea that Pollock’s character is a kind of enigmatic Bird God, who can restore dead birds back to life. This mirrors the plot of the movie, where characters seem to die but are also "magically" revived.
Another thing to notice is the "magical" part of the performance doesn’t begin until almost two minutes into this three minute clip – it’s the atmosphere and build-up that’s important.
The visuals might also remind you of other artists who’ve made surreal imagery, such as Salvador Dali and Jean Cocteau, as well as the expressionism of film director F. W. Murnau, who made the 1922 vampire film Nosferatu.
I think this scene is similar to some of the masked ballroom scenes in Stanley Kubrick’s last film, Eyes Wide Shut, especially with its lack of dialogue, the eeriness of the anonymous masked figures, and the choice of music.