Read a Movie series to show 'The Illusionist' Sept. 11

August 23, 2013
Jessica Biel and Edward Norton star in "The Illusionist." SOURCE SUBMITTED

The Read a Movie series kicks off its second year with a screening of “The Illusionist” at 4 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 11, at the Rehoboth Beach Public Library. “The Illusionist” is director Neil Burger's cinematic adaptation of short story, “Eisenheim the Illusionist” by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Steven Millhauser.

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society and the Rehoboth Beach Public Library cosponsor the Read a Movie monthly series in which participants are invited to read a short story in advance of the screening, and then gather to watch the film version and engage in lively discussion about how the film compares to its original inspiration.

September’s film is set in late 19 century Vienna, Austria, where renowned illusionist Eisenheim (Edward Norton) longs to secure the love of a woman far above his social standing. The story begins with a childhood romance between a youthful Eisenheim and the upper-class Sophie von Teschen (Jessica Biel). Their time together eventually results in a heartbroken young man leaving Austria to explore the world and perfect his craft. Upon returning to Vienna 15 years later as a talented and renowned illusionist, Eisenheim dreams of reuniting with the beautiful Sophie, now a duchess. His hopes of a reunion are answered when he notices that Sophie is at one of his performances.

Once he finds out that she is the fiancée of the ruthless Crown Prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell), Eisenheim begins to test the patience of the soon-to-be-emperor. As Eisenheim’s magic and mystique further infuriate and threaten Leopold at the royal command performance, the prince becomes obsessed with exposing Eisenheim as a fraud.

Tensions between Eisenheim and Leopold elevate, and Chief Inspector Uhl (Paul Giamatti) notices the cat-and-mouse game between the two. Eisenheim may be able to use his illusionary abilities to free the Duchess von Teschen from the royal house in Vienna, but at what cost?

The Read a Movie series meets the second Wednesday of every month at the Rehoboth Beach Public Library. After the film is screened, viewers share thoughts about how well - or not so well - the story was expanded to the big screen.

The series is open to the public and is free. To receive the stories in advance, email Jamie Rousak at or call the Rehoboth Beach Public Library at 302-227-8044.

The Rehoboth Beach Film Society is funded, in part, by a grant from the Delaware Division of the Arts, a state agency dedicated to nurturing and supporting the arts in Delaware, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information on this series, other events, or to become a member, go to or call 302-645-9095.