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Haldane of the Secret Service (1923)

Heath Haldane (Houdini) tracks down a vicious gang of counterfeiters, narrowly missing death several times. He must rescue Adele Ormsby, whom he loves despite her pending marriage.


Harry Houdini

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Cast overview:
Harry Houdini ... Heath Haldane (as Houdini)
Gladys Leslie Gladys Leslie ... Adele Ormsby
William Humphrey ... Edward Ormsby (as Wm. Humphrey)
Richard Carlyle Richard Carlyle ... Joe Ivors (as Richard Carlysle)
Edward Boulden ... Raoul Usher
Jane Jennings Jane Jennings ... Mrs. Clive Usher
Charles Fang Charles Fang ... Ah Ling (as Chas. Fang)
Myrtle Morse Myrtle Morse ... Andrea Drayton
Irving Brooks Irving Brooks ... Bruce Drayton


Heath Haldane (Houdini) tracks down a vicious gang of counterfeiters, narrowly missing death several times. He must rescue Adele Ormsby, whom he loves despite her pending marriage.

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melodrama | See All (1) »


Adventure | Crime | Drama







Release Date:

30 September 1923 (USA) See more »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


A print of this film survives in the UCLA Film and Television Archives. See more »

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User Reviews

A curio...a very, very dull curio!
16 May 2009 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

Most people probably don't know that magician Harry Houdini made a few movies during the latter part of his life. The last of these was was HALDANE OF THE SECRET SERVICE. Well, I haven't yet seen his earlier ones, but you might assume this could be his best because he had so much experience with his earlier films. If that is the case, then the earlier ones were REAAALLLY bad! That's because HALDANE was a very dull film whose only strength were its location shots in Paris and the UK--something quite amazing for a 1920s film.

The plot is about Haldane (Houdini) investigating a ring of counterfeiters led by a mysterious Chinese baddie. Along the way, Haldane meets a young lady (who seemed rather dim) and despite having very little reason, he falls for her by the end of the film--even though her family is deeply involved with the criminal empire.

As for what I didn't like about the film, there was quite a bit. First, this was about the talkiest silent film ever made. Having a talky film may not be bad, but with a silent, it's a huge problem. Too often, you read and read and read and there isn't all that much action despite it being an action film. Second, while Houdini was an amazing magician, he was no great actor actor AND there is only one minor magic trick (of sorts) in the film. It just doesn't play to his strengths. In addition, the film just seemed uninspired and unexceptional.

Overall, it's worth seeing as a curio--you can see Houdini doing something other than acting in old archival footage. But, for the average viewer, it's eminently skipable.

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