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Houdini
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Houdini (1953) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
6.9/10   2,001 votes »
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Down 12% 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:
Who cares if it isn't accurate, it sure is fun!! 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)

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

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:
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:
Revealing mistakes: 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 »
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:
Soundtrack:
The ThundererSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
14 out of 17 people found the following review useful.
Who cares if it isn't accurate, it sure is fun!!, 17 October 2004
Author: MCETXCEM from Morgans Point Resort, TX

If it wasn't for the movies and the books on Harry Houdini's life he would fall into a category of un-interesting performers who only could do one thing perform

He lived in a time where his talents were in great demand and despite the fact that this film is not accurate it is lovingly presented by Paramount a **Color Film** in a time where Black and White films were still commonplace, Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh at the peak of their building careers and George Marshall a veteran director of close to 120 films

They knew what they were doing when the movie partially fictionalized Houdini's life possibly because he was a one note person, a magician, an escape artist, a performer

The movie is excellent!! and that is all that matters, if I am not mistaken almost every remake has fictionalized his life in one way or another, this movie is a true gem!!

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (30 total) »

Message Boards

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

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