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Houdini (1953)

Approved  |   |  Biography, Drama  |  2 July 1953 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 2,089 users  
Reviews: 30 user | 13 critic

The spectacular but tragically short career of magician and illusionist Harry Houdini whose tricks defied explanation and safety.

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(screenplay), (book)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Torin Thatcher ...
Otto
Angela Clarke ...
Harry's Mother
...
German Prosecuting Attorney
...
Malue
Sig Ruman ...
Schultz
...
Dooley
Connie Gilchrist ...
Mrs. Shultz
Malcolm Lee Beggs ...
British Jail Warden
Frank Orth ...
Mr. Hunter
Barry Bernard ...
Insp. Marlick
Douglas Spencer ...
Simms
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Storyline

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 duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2 July 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El gran Houdini  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie contains several factual errors, the most telling of which is the dramatization of Harry Houdini's death. In the film he almost drowns in the torture tank trick and dies on the stage in the arms of his wife. In real life he was punched in the stomach by a college student who had heard that Houdini could withstand any blow without harm. This did, indeed, rupture his appendix. He later collapsed on stage, was taken to the hospital and died there. See more »

Goofs

There's a revealing jump cut in the authentic sawing-woman-in-half act. See more »

Quotes

Harry Houdini: It'll be the most dangerous thing I've ever done.
Bess Houdini: And the most dangerous!
Harry Houdini: Bess, people aren't going to stand in line and watch me pull rabbits out of a hat.
Bess Houdini: Why? Why must every act you do be flirting with death?
Harry Houdini: 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!
Bess Houdini: You keep it in and we're both nothing!
See more »

Connections

Featured in Ta diodia: Episode #1.3 (1988) See more »

Soundtracks

An der schönen, blauen Donau (On the Beautiful Blue Danube), Op. 314
(uncredited)
Music by Johann Strauß
Played when Houdini performs the rope and saw stunt
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Super glossy, super fictionalized bio pic...
20 January 2008 | by (las vegas, nv) – See all my reviews

The story of master magician Harry Houdini (1874–1926) becomes a glossy star-vehicle for Tony Curtis in the lead--and though the facts of Houdini's life are lumped right together with the Hollywood dross (as if this movie magazine-styled spread were one big true-life story), one is drawn in by Curtis' apparent commitment to the role. Director George Marshall stages some exciting set-pieces and a nice romance ensues between Tony's Houdini and assistant Bess, played by Curtis' real-life spouse Janet Leigh (doing appealing work). Philip Yordan adapted Harold Kellock's book, and the results are (surprisingly) entertaining despite all the requisite corn and clichés. **1/2 from ****


5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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