6.9/10
2,420
33 user 18 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.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (book)
Reviews

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

ON DISC
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

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 »

Director: Robert Mulligan
Stars: Tony Curtis, Karl Malden, Edmond O'Brien
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
Action | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 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
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
Adventure | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Peasant Myles Falworth is trained for knighthood and is groomed by various nobles to defeat the evil Earl of Alban who's plotting to usurp King Henry IV's throne.

Director: Rudolph Maté
Stars: Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, David Farrar
Adventure
    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
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

To pacify 104 sex-starved male soldiers building an Arctic radar base, Army psychologist Vicki Loren suggests choosing one by lot to have a "perfect furlough" as selected by the men: three ... See full summary »

Director: Blake Edwards
Stars: Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, Keenan Wynn
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

New York tourist Tony Curtis falls asleep on a Southern California beach on his first night in the West and wakes up to The New Phantasmagoria--catamarans, surfers (including a dog), ... See full summary »

Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Stars: Tony Curtis, Claudia Cardinale, Robert Webber
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
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Hilarity ensues when a casino manager spends a day at Disneyland with a cute but troublesome little girl.

Director: Norman Jewison
Stars: Tony Curtis, Phil Silvers, Suzanne Pleshette
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 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
Beachhead (1954)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

In 1943, in the wake of the Allied amphibious landing on the Japanese held Bougainville Island, four Marines are sent to scout the location of Japanese minefields.

Director: Stuart Heisler
Stars: Tony Curtis, Frank Lovejoy, Mary Murphy
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
Otto
Angela Clarke ...
...
German Prosecuting Attorney
...
Malue
...
Schultz
...
Dooley
Connie Gilchrist ...
Mrs. Shultz
Malcolm Lee Beggs ...
British Jail Warden
...
Mr. Hunter
Barry Bernard ...
Insp. Marlick
Douglas Spencer ...
Simms
Edit

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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Three years before this film was made, 20th-Century Fox was negotiating with Houdini's family to make a picture called "The Life of Houdini" and starring Burt Lancaster in the title role. See more »

Goofs

During the straight jacket escape competition we see Houdini focus on the center glass ball of the chandelier. First we see the chandelier all by itself with the center ball nestled in the strands of cut glass. He continues focusing on it while he is working at escaping and we see the glass ball again from a different angle with Houdini in the background only this time it's no longer nestled in the other strands but rather a little lower and more by itself. See more »

Quotes

Bess Houdini: [to Houdini] Audiences are never satisfied. They love you for th moment you please them.
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 »

Connections

Featured in The Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal (1985) See more »

Soundtracks

The Thunderer
(uncredited)
Music by John Philip Sousa
Played during the opening credits
Played often during Houdini's stunts
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
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...


25 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?