Death Defying Acts (2007)

PG  |   |  Drama, Romance, Thriller  |  13 March 2008 (Australia)
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Ratings: 5.9/10 from 8,232 users   Metascore: 48/100
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On a tour of Britain in 1926, Harry Houdini enters into a passionate affair with a psychic out to con the famous magician.


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4 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Leni Harper ...
Leith Romeo's wife
Ralph Riach ...
Flower Stall Seller
Oily Librarian
Billy McColl ...
Ugly Mug
Rose (as Frankey Martyn)
Aileen O'Gorman ...
Effie - Elderly Seamstress
Raymond Griffiths ...
Music Hall Dwarf
Shaun Mason ...


During Harry Houdini's tour of Britain in 1926, the master escapologist enters into a passionate affair with a Scottish psychic. The psychic and her daughter attempt to con Houdini during a highly publicized séance to contact his mother whose death has haunted him for many years. However all does not go to plan... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


There is no escape. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some sensuality, thematic material, language, violent content and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

13 March 2008 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Death Defying Acts: Houdini's Secret  »

Box Office


$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,561 (USA) (11 July 2008)


$3,561 (USA) (11 July 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


(newsreel footage)|

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The opening scene reveals the partially built arches of the Sydney Harbour Bridge behind Houdini as he is lifted to the surface of the water. Houdini died in 1926. Construction of the arches did not commence until 1928. See more »


[first lines]
Benji McGarvie: [with Scottish accent] When I was very small, I had a gift. I saw things other folk did nae see. It was like looking into deep water and seein' things on the other side. As I grew up, the gift vanished, just like my mam said it would. And I saw the world as it really was - with all its sweet lies and trickery. The the great Houdini came into our lives, and changed everything forever.
See more »


Referenced in Lockout (2012) See more »


The Flowers of Edinburgh
[Played by fiddler in the pub]
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User Reviews

Disappointingly flat
17 August 2008 | by (Earth) – See all my reviews

This film is about a woman who works as a con artist trying to deceive Harry Houdini into believing that she has psychic powers.

"Death Defying Acts" sounds like an action movie, but the poster looks more like a romantic film. In fact it is neither. It is a slowly unfolding drama about how Mary attempts to con Harry, and how harry falls for her.

As Houdini is the greatest escape artist of all times, a film about him should have been exciting, thrilling and even death defying. However, this film has none of these attributes. The plot is slow, plain and not exciting at all. There is not much tension or drama to captivate me. I do not care about the characters, and whatever relationship they have between them. There is little chemistry between Guy Pearce and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Frankly, I think they are both miscast. Fortunately, Saoirse Ronan is delightful as the psychic sidekick. She is the one who save the film.

"Death Defying Acts" turns out to be a bore. I am quite disappointed by it.

28 of 47 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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