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

In an interview made in his home studio on Thursday June 1st 1995, Mike Oldfield told that the song "Moonlight Shadow", which is probably his best known song and most successful single, was originally inspired by this movie. See more »

Goofs

When the Houdinis and the reporter are being driven to the séance, the same rear projection loop is continually run in the car's back window, repeatedly showing the same background traffic, with the splice where the loop begins plainly visible each time. 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 »


Soundtracks

Perpetuum Mobile, Op. 257 (Perpetual Motion)
(uncredited)
Music by Johann Strauss
Played during the straitjacket contest
See more »

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User Reviews

Tony Curtis as the great performer, in a fine film for everyone...
27 October 1998 | by JRobertSee all my reviews

..since he is and has been an amateur magician, Curtis was perfect to portray Houdini, the master magician and above all.. the master escape artist! A beautiful technicolor film that has the atmosphere of vaudeville and showbiz of the day, it invokes the mystery of the great showman's lifestyle and his unusual death on Halloween. Janet Leigh,as Houdini's wife, Bess, adds to the fun... and for those that love magic and magicians, this will satisfy you. The early life, the escapes from ropes, chains and jail cells the world-over, from the icy waters of rivers and lakes, it is all here. Slicked up naturally not so much to educate us, but to entertain.. ...!


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