30 user 13 critic

Houdini (1953)

Approved | | Biography, Drama | 2 July 1953 (USA)
The spectacular but tragically short career of magician and illusionist Harry Houdini whose tricks defied explanation and safety.



(screenplay), (book)

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video




Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Adventure | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Technicolor and tights. In the days of King Henry IV, stalwart young Myles of Crisby Dale, and his sister Meg, have been raised as peasants, without any knowledge of their father's true ... See full summary »

Director: Rudolph Maté
Stars: Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, David Farrar
Comedy | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Shot by a jealous husband, Charley falls out a porthole and is lost at sea only to find himself returned as an attractive blond woman. His best friend is staying at his house as he puts ... See full summary »

Director: Vincente Minnelli
Stars: Tony Curtis, Debbie Reynolds, Pat Boone
The Rat Race (1960)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Tender romantic comedy about an aspiring musician who arrives in New York in search of fame & fortune. He soon meets a taxi dancer, moves in with her, and before too long a romance develops.

Director: Robert Mulligan
Stars: Tony Curtis, Debbie Reynolds, Jack Oakie
Action | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

An international car rally across Europe is complicated by smuggling, cheating, love at first sight, etc. etc.

Directors: Ken Annakin, Sam Itzkovitch
Stars: Bourvil, Lando Buzzanca, Walter Chiari
Forbidden (1953)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Eddie Darrow, seeking a mobster's widow in Macao, gets involved in a casino owner's affairs.

Director: Rudolph Maté
Stars: Tony Curtis, Joanne Dru, Lyle Bettger
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In order to get back into the good graces with his wife with whom he has had a misunderstanding, a young chemistry professor concocts a wild story that he is an undercover FBI agent. To ... See full summary »

Director: George Sidney
Stars: Tony Curtis, Dean Martin, Janet Leigh
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

In 13th-century Tangiers, regent Mustapha hires a paid assassin to kill baby Prince Hussein in order to usurp his throne but the assassin has second thoughts and steals the baby for himself.

Director: Rudolph Maté
Stars: Tony Curtis, Piper Laurie, Everett Sloane
Trapeze (1956)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A crippled circus acrobat is torn emotionally between two ambitious young trapeze artists, one a talented young American and a less-gifted but beautiful Italian.

Director: Carol Reed
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Tony Curtis, Gina Lollobrigida
Drama | War | Action
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Toward the end of World War II, two American soldiers fighting in Southern France become romantically involved with a young, American woman. Her background will reveal more about them than her.

Director: Delmer Daves
Stars: Frank Sinatra, Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

During the Korean War, Italian nurse Virna Lisi falls in love with two American fliers, Tony Curtis and George C. Scott. Lisi marries Curtis after he convinces her that Scott has been ... See full summary »

Director: Norman Panama
Stars: Tony Curtis, Virna Lisi, George C. Scott
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Beloved priest Father Thomasino is murdered in a San Francisco alley, and the police have few clues. But traffic cop Joe Martini becomes obsessed with finding the killer; he suspects Sylvio... See full summary »

Director: Joseph Pevney
Stars: Tony Curtis, Marisa Pavan, Gilbert Roland
Ten Tall Men (1951)
Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Sgt. Mike Kincaid of the French Foreign Legion learns, from a Riff prisoner, that an attack will soon be made by the villainous Hussin on the Legion's outpost of Tarfa. Kincaid volunteers ... See full summary »

Director: Willis Goldbeck
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Jody Lawrance, Gilbert Roland


Complete credited cast:
Angela Clarke ...
Harry's Mother
German Prosecuting Attorney
Connie Gilchrist ...
Mrs. Shultz
Malcolm Lee Beggs ...
British Jail Warden
Mr. Hunter
Barry Bernard ...
Insp. Marlick
Douglas Spencer ...


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


His feats of magic were GREAT! The magic of their love was GREATER!


Biography | Drama


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

2 July 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El gran Houdini  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis had appeared together in five films: Houdini (1953), The Black Shield of Falworth (1954), The Vikings (1958), The Perfect Furlough (1958), and Who Was That Lady? (1960). See more »


When Houdini is doing the "levitation" trick on the stage, watch as Tony Curtis passes the hoop around Janet Leigh's body: twice you can see the split in the hoop "catch" on the lifting frame behind her body. See more »


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 »

Crazy Credits

Although the film is in color, the Paramount logo and both the beginning and end of the film is in black-and-white. See more »


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


The Bell in the Bay
Written by Preston Sturges
Sung by Luratti (Billy Bletcher) at Miner's Hall
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

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?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Most inaccurate biography ever? sbere
Detroit River daryavaush
Name of Hungarian Waltz? qwiggly
what is the name of he song when the curtain opens 4 underwater trick ? steel_reign_2020
Drop it, because it isn't a trick! oknar1977
Discuss Houdini (1953) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: