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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

A talented amateur magician, Tony Curtis performed most of his own tricks in this film. See more »

Goofs

As Harry and Bess are hurriedly leaving after meeting Harry's mother, a photographic flash can be seen as they reach the door. See more »

Quotes

Bess Houdini: [to Houdini] Audiences are never satisfied. They love you for th moment you please them.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Although the film is in color, the Paramount logo and both the beginning and end of the film is in black-and-white. See more »

Connections

Version of Houdini (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

The Thunderer
(uncredited)
Music by John Philip Sousa
Played during the opening credits
Played often during Houdini's stunts
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Right Cast But This one Cries for a Remake
18 May 2009 | by DKosty123See all my reviews

Tony Curtis was the proper person to play Harry Houdini when this movie was made. He had the right attitude. Janet Leigh, his wife in real life then, was outstanding as Bess Houdini and the sparks between them show on this film. To me the problem is the script.

The real Houdini's life was much more interesting than the points of his life presented here. The story covers some highlights of Harry's life, and a little of the special relationship with his mom. It totally leaves out Harry's brother, the great Hardine. It doesn't get into the barn storming career or the great tricks Houdini did enough.

The film also fails script wise to show how well Erich Weiss promoted himself enough. I think the script was designed for Curtis & Leigh and misses the best parts of Harry's life. From what I have seen and read about Houdini, a much more interesting story is there to be told. This story does not tell it entirely.

I am glad they tried to do what they did here. For Curtis & Leigh fans this is a great showcase. If it were to be remade, there are more highlights of Houdini's amazing life that could be written to make a better film. I'd challenge Hollywood to tackle that. For now, this is the best we've got, but I have to wonder what could have been with a better script.


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