The amazing career of master magician Harry Houdini is presented from his beginnings with a carnival "wild man" act to his emergence as an internationally-acclaimed illusionist, From his dramatic escape from a locked safe under the frozen Detroit River to an even more improbable one from a locked cell in Scotland Yard, he never failed to please and astound his audiences. Although Houdini's tricks are achieved through his marvelous physical dexterity and innate sleight-of-hand, he courted death with the hazardous illusions he performed and his compulsive quest to make contact with the spirit world. Written by
Billy Bletcher's, Oliver Blake's, and Michael Pate's voices are dubbed. See more »
In the clip when Houdini is in London demonstrating his escape from a trunk, he gets 2 sailors to check the trunk. On the sailors' blue collars are stars. The Royal Navy did not have stars on their collars. See more »
It'll be the most dangerous thing I've ever done.
And the most dangerous!
Bess, people aren't going to stand in line and watch me pull rabbits out of a hat.
Why? Why must every act you do be flirting with death?
Because it's the only act that'll hold an audience spellbound. People fall asleep at the opera, but they stay wide awake at the bullfights because ther's one man defying death down in that arena. You take this out of my act and I'm nothing!
You keep it in and we're both nothing!
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Curtis looks terrific as Houdini, the showman and the self-promoter...
By the early 1900s, the extraordinary Houdini earned an international reputation for his theatrical tricks and daring feats of extrication from shackles, ropes, handcuffs, and Scotland Yard's jails...
The film depicts Houdini's memorable escape from any pair of handcuffs produced by the audience; the outdoor exhibition, when he allows himself to be hanged upside down from his ankles, suspended from the roof of a high building, in a strait jacket; and, the dramatic act, when he accepts to be shackled with irons and placed in a box that is locked, roped, and submerged in frozen waters...
The film also exposes Houdini's campaign against mind readers, fraudulent mediums and others who claim supernatural powers... Houdini shows a passionate talent for escapology and the film did much to create the 'Water Torture Cell' illusion...
With his pretty-boy looks, Tony Curtis handles the title role with passionate skill... His energetic performance, as the talented and motivated magician, is very good...
With good period atmosphere, but with more attention to romance than to interesting detail, the film is quite enjoyable and colorful...
Janet Leigh does a great job as Houdini's faithful wife...
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