IMDb > Houdini (1953)
Houdini
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Houdini (1953) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
6.9/10   1,940 votes »
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Down 21% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Philip Yordan (screenplay)
Harold Kellock (book)
Contact:
View company contact information for Houdini on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
2 July 1953 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
The spectacular but tragically short career of magician and illusionist Harry Houdini whose tricks defied explanation and safety. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Right Cast But This one Cries for a Remake See more (30 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Tony Curtis ... Harry Houdini

Janet Leigh ... Bess Houdini
Torin Thatcher ... Otto
Angela Clarke ... Harry's Mother

Stefan Schnabel ... German Prosecuting Attorney

Ian Wolfe ... Malue
Sig Ruman ... Schultz

Michael Pate ... Dooley
Connie Gilchrist ... Mrs. Shultz
Malcolm Lee Beggs ... British Jail Warden
Frank Orth ... Mr. Hunter
Barry Bernard ... Insp. Marlick
Douglas Spencer ... Simms
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Eric Alden ... Sailor (uncredited)
Fred Aldrich ... Waiter / Bouncer (uncredited)
Elsie Ames ... Entertainer (uncredited)
Jan Arden ... Shimmy Dancer (uncredited)
Nick Arno ... Entertainer (uncredited)
Peter Baldwin ... Fred - Bess' Escort (uncredited)

Bobby Barber ... Comic Piano Player (uncredited)

Oliver Blake ... Coney Island Barker (uncredited)

Billy Bletcher ... Italian Basso (uncredited)
Cliff Clark ... Barker (uncredited)
Edward Clark ... Doorman (uncredited)
Jim Davies ... Heckler (uncredited)
Louise De Carlo ... Dance Girl (uncredited)
Daniel De Jonghe ... Desk Clerk (uncredited)
Marion Dempsey ... Sword Swallower (uncredited)
Don Dunning ... Heckler (uncredited)
Norma Jean Eckart ... Girl in Astor Guillotine Act (uncredited)
Fred Essler ... Officious Man (uncredited)
Bess Flowers ... Extra at Halloween Magician's Ball (uncredited)
Esther Garber ... Esther's Girlfriend (uncredited)
Jon Gardner ... Boy (uncredited)
Maxine Gates ... Heavy Blonde Woman (uncredited)
Bill Gentry ... Fred's Friend (uncredited)
Joanne Gilbert ... Girl (uncredited)
Jody Gilbert ... Fat Girl (uncredited)
Arthur Gould-Porter ... Alhambra Manager (uncredited)
Kit Guard ... 'Spirit' at Seance (uncredited)
Henry Guttman ... Master of Ceremonies, Berlin Nightclub (uncredited)
Alec Harford ... Assistant (uncredited)
Grace Hayle ... Woman Who Screams (uncredited)
Len Hendry ... Stagehand (uncredited)
Harry Hines ... Barker (uncredited)
Jerry James ... Reporter (uncredited)
Frank Jaquet ... Mr. Brown - Foreman (uncredited)
Tor Johnson ... Strongman (uncredited)
Frank Kreig ... Stagehand (uncredited)
William W. Larsen ... Guillotine Act (uncredited)
Lyle Latell ... Calcott (uncredited)
Mike Mahoney ... Bell Captain (uncredited)
Lewis Martin ... Editor (uncredited)
William Meader ... Reporter (uncredited)
Torben Meyer ... Headwaiter (uncredited)
Mary Murphy ... Girl (uncredited)
Hal Neiman ... Barker (uncredited)
Tudor Owen ... Blacksmith (uncredited)
Mabel Paige ... Medium (uncredited)
Ralph Peters ... Prisoner (uncredited)
Joe Ploski ... Man in Audience Throwing Tomato (uncredited)
Luce Potter ... Little Woman (uncredited)
A.J. Buster Resmondo ... Little Man (uncredited)
Lawrence Ryle ... German Judge (uncredited)
Richard Shannon ... Miner (uncredited)
Ray Spiker ... Stagehand (uncredited)
Bert Stevens ... Maitre d' - Hotel Astor (uncredited)
Charles Sullivan ... Audience Extra (uncredited)
Arthur Tovey ... Audience Spectator (uncredited)
Ernö Verebes ... Prof. Allegari (uncredited)

Anthony Warde ... Master of Ceremonies (uncredited)
Gil Warren ... Fire Chief (uncredited)
Audrey Washburn ... Contortionist (uncredited)
Betty Yeaton ... Contortionist (uncredited)
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Directed by
George Marshall 
 
Writing credits
Philip Yordan (screenplay)

Harold Kellock (book)

Produced by
Frank Freeman Jr. .... associate producer
George Pal .... producer
 
Original Music by
Roy Webb 
 
Cinematography by
Ernest Laszlo (director of photography)
 
Film Editing by
George Tomasini 
 
Art Direction by
Albert Nozaki  (as Al Nozaki)
Hal Pereira 
 
Set Decoration by
Sam Comer 
Ray Moyer 
 
Costume Design by
Edith Head 
 
Makeup Department
Wally Westmore .... makeup supervisor
 
Production Management
C. Kenneth Deland .... production manager (uncredited)
Andrew J. Durkus .... production manager (uncredited)
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Michael D. Moore .... assistant director
 
Art Department
Robert Goodstein .... props (uncredited)
 
Sound Department
Gene Garvin .... sound recordist
Harry D. Mills .... sound recordist (as Harry Mills)
 
Visual Effects by
Gordon Jennings .... special photographic effects
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Guy Bennett .... second camera operator (uncredited)
Loomis Dean .... still photographer (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Joan Joseff .... costume jeweller (uncredited)
 
Music Department
Sidney Cutner .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Gil Grau .... orchestrator (uncredited)
George Parrish .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Leo Shuken .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Van Cleave .... orchestrator (uncredited)
 
Other crew
Joseph Dunninger .... technical advisor (as Dunninger)
Richard Mueller .... technicolor color consultant
George L. Boston .... technical advisor (uncredited)
 
Crew verified as complete


Production CompaniesDistributors
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
106 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
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 »
Goofs:
Revealing mistakes: 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 »
Movie Connections:
Featured in "Ta diodia: Episode #1.3" (1988)See more »
Soundtrack:
Perpetuum Mobile, Op. 257 (Perpetual Motion)See more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
5 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
Right Cast But This one Cries for a Remake, 18 May 2009
Author: getyourdander from United States

Tony Curtis was the proper person to play Harry Houdini when this movie was made. He had the right attitude. Janet Leigh, his wife in real life then, was outstanding as Bess Houdini and the sparks between them show on this film. To me the problem is the script.

The real Houdini's life was much more interesting than the points of his life presented here. The story covers some highlights of Harry's life, and a little of the special relationship with his mom. It totally leaves out Harry's brother, the great Hardine. It doesn't get into the barn storming career or the great tricks Houdini did enough.

The film also fails script wise to show how well Erich Weiss promoted himself enough. I think the script was designed for Curtis & Leigh and misses the best parts of Harry's life. From what I have seen and read about Houdini, a much more interesting story is there to be told. This story does not tell it entirely.

I am glad they tried to do what they did here. For Curtis & Leigh fans this is a great showcase. If it were to be remade, there are more highlights of Houdini's amazing life that could be written to make a better film. I'd challenge Hollywood to tackle that. For now, this is the best we've got, but I have to wonder what could have been with a better script.

Was the above review useful to you?
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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Houdini (1953)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Legal Charges Against Houdini pkryder-1
Most inaccurate biography ever? sbere
So he drowns at the end and then is revived bobo-29
Are Safes REALLY Easier To Break Out Of Than Into ? pkryder-1
Detroit River daryavaush
what is the name of he song when the curtain opens 4 underwater trick ? steel_reign_2020
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