6.9/10
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Houdini (1953)

Approved | | Biography, Drama | 2 July 1953 (USA)
The spectacular but tragically short career of magician and illusionist Harry Houdini whose tricks defied explanation and safety.

Director:

George Marshall

Writers:

Philip Yordan (screenplay), Harold Kellock (book)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
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 Malcolm Lee Beggs ... British Jail Warden
Frank Orth ... Mr. Hunter
Barry Bernard Barry Bernard ... Insp. Marlick
Douglas Spencer ... Simms - Reporter
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Storyline

The amazing career of master magician Harry Houdini is presented from his beginnings with a carnival "wild man" act to his emergence as an internationally-acclaimed illusionist, From his dramatic escape from a locked safe under the frozen Detroit River to an even more improbable one from a locked cell in Scotland Yard, he never failed to please and astound his audiences. Although Houdini's tricks are achieved through his marvelous physical dexterity and innate sleight-of-hand, he courted death with the hazardous illusions he performed and his compulsive quest to make contact with the spirit world. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

His feats of magic were GREAT! The magic of their love was GREATER!

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 July 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El gran Houdini See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To get publicity, Houdini (played by Tony Curtis) dangled from a flagpole upside down while escaping from a straight jacket. In the 1965 movie The Great Race, the publicity seeking The Great Leslie, also played by Tony Curtis, dangles upside down from a balloon while escaping from a straight jacket. See more »

Goofs

During the straight jacket escape competition we see Houdini focus on the center glass ball of the chandelier. First we see the chandelier all by itself with the center ball nestled in the strands of cut glass. He continues focusing on it while he is working at escaping and we see the glass ball again from a different angle with Houdini in the background only this time it's no longer nestled in the other strands but rather a little lower and more by itself. 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 »

Connections

Referenced in Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In: Episode #3.26 (1970) See more »

Soundtracks

Waltz from 'The Poet and Peasant Overture'
(uncredited)
Music by Franz von Suppé
Waltz danced by Houdini and his mother
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Curtis Gives Another Good Performance
7 October 2006 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

Tony Curtis is almost always good in whomever he plays, and he was fascinating in here as the famous magician "Harry Houdini." Curtis had a number of good roles in his prime. Speaking of "prime," Janet Leigh didn't look too bad in her prime, either: a very pretty lady.

I don't know how accurate this biography was, but I do know that this movie should have been longer. I usually say the opposite about films, but in this case, I would like to have seen more details about his life and death. His failure to communicate with dead - Houdini's misguided belief - wasn't discussed much.

I guess there were a couple of more modern-day films on Houdini, but they must not have been anything much since I never heard about them. Too bad, because a good re-make of this movie might be something to see.


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