5.8/10
427
12 user 1 critic

Houdini (1998)

The life and times of escape artist/magician Harry Houdini.

Director:

Pen Densham

Writer:

Pen Densham
Reviews
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Johnathon Schaech ... Harry Houdini
Stacy Edwards ... Bess Houdini
Paul Sorvino ... Blackburn
Rhea Perlman ... Esther
David Warner ... Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Mark Ruffalo ... Theo
Grace Zabriskie ... Mrs. Weiss
Ron Perlman ... Booking Agent
Karl Makinen ... Jim Collins
Judy Geeson ... Lady Doyle
Frank McRae ... Usher
George Segal ... Beck
Emile Hirsch ... Young Houdini
Curt Lowens ... Samuel Weiss
Jack McGee ... Street Vendor
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Storyline

This biographical film tells the story of Harry Houdini, from his birth and immigration to the U.S., through his career in show business as first an escape artist and then a seance debunker, and finally his tragic death. We also see his relationship with wife Bess. Written by <crow_steve@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He made a life out of cheating death


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Photos, Bios & Filmography

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 December 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Believe See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

[All trivia items for this title are spoilers.] See more »

Connections

Referenced in Herschell Gordon Lewis: The Godfather of Gore (2010) See more »

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User Reviews

Don't bury Houdini, bury this movie.
5 October 1999 | by ladsSee all my reviews

The biggest trick the writer/directer pulls on us is to hang this fantasy on one of the century's great showbusiness characters. Houdini, the short, wiry-haired immigrant, who spell-bound audiences with the intensity of his eyes and his haunting intimation of his'powers'; angry, petulant, vain and childish, the man puppy-loved his mother till the day he died, indeed, adolescent is perhaps the word to explain his emotional range; but so thrilling, so charismatic was he, audiences would sit electrified, staring at the theatre curtain for an hour, two hours, while behind it, Houdini was struggling manacles, boxes, milk cans... So far away from any attempt at showing us anything about the real man, and with Jonathon Schaech's bland performance not holding the film together, the writer then doesn't even seem to enjoy the world of vaudeville and illusion very much, but spends more time on the seances and the soap-opera domestics. I'm not angry at this movie because I'm a purist who believes Houdini's life is sacrosanct, but that the man and his life are so fascinating, and so full of episodes revealing and suspenseful, that a fictional version of the story can only fail by comparison.


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