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Houdini and the magic of the movies

3 May 2011 8:22 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

The origins of cinema, a prize-winning book reveals, are closely linked to the conjurors and spiritualists of the early 20th century

Over the past few months, I have been on a judging panel with Sir Christopher Frayling and Hugh Hudson for a prize which is not as well known as it deserves to be. This is the Kraszna Krausz best moving image book award, given to the year's most outstanding book on cinema, video art and the moving image. The award was created in 1985 by the Hungarian publisher Andor Kraszna-Krausz, and the foundation also sponsors prizes for best photography book and outstanding contribution to publishing. Our jury settled on what I think is a truly fascinating book: Disappearing Tricks: Silent Film, Houdini and the New Magic of the Twentieth Century, by Matthew Solomon, published by the University of Illinois Press.

In it, film historian Solomon re-examines the cinema's occult roots »

- Peter Bradshaw

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