IMDb > Houdini (1953)
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

Houdini (1953) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 5 | slideshow) Videos
Houdini -- Tony Curtis gives a winning performance as the great Houdini, the struggling circus performer who emerged as the world's most captivating magician and escape artist.


User Rating:
6.9/10   2,165 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
Popularity: ?
Down 13% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Philip Yordan (screenplay)
Harold Kellock (book)
View company contact information for Houdini on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
2 July 1953 (USA) See more »
The spectacular but tragically short career of magician and illusionist Harry Houdini whose tricks defied explanation and safety. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Curtis looks terrific as Houdini, the showman and the self-promoter... See more (30 total) »


  (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:
106 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Did You Know?

Billy Bletcher's, Oliver Blake's, and Michael Pate's voices are dubbed.See more »
Factual errors: In the clip when Houdini is in London demonstrating his escape from a trunk, he gets 2 sailors to check the trunk. On the sailors' blue collars are stars. The Royal Navy did not have stars on their collars.See more »
Harry Houdini:I hadn't prepared anything for tonight, but perhaps I have something that will amuse you. So if you'll get a couple of broomsticks, I'll get my wife - and we'll see what we can do.See more »
Movie Connections:
The Bell in the BaySee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
24 out of 26 people found the following review useful.
Curtis looks terrific as Houdini, the showman and the self-promoter..., 29 April 2000

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...

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
So he drowns at the end and then is revived bobo-29
Most inaccurate biography ever? sbere
Detroit River daryavaush
what is the name of he song when the curtain opens 4 underwater trick ? steel_reign_2020
Name of Hungarian Waltz? qwiggly
See more »


If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Death Defying Acts The Prestige Click Jeanne Eagels Chicago
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Biography section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.