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Based on a true story, a bright young man who hasn't the patience for the normal way of advancement finds that people rarely question you if your papers are in order. He becomes a marine, a... See full summary »
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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
Harry Houdini's real name was Weiss (the German word for the color white), and he is played here by Tony Curtis, whose real name is Schwartz (schwarz is the German word for the color black). See more »
Near the end, when Bess is in the empty theatre, begging Harry not to do the trick, she is clapping. You can hear the loud claps, although she is wearing gloves on both hands. You would never hear the claps, only muted thuds. 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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The story of master magician Harry Houdini (18741926) 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 ****
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