5.8/10
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34 user 54 critic

Death Defying Acts (2007)

Trailer
2:24 | Trailer
On a tour of Britain in 1926, Harry Houdini enters into a passionate affair with a psychic out to con the famous magician.

Director:

Gillian Armstrong
5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Guy Pearce ... Harry Houdini
Catherine Zeta-Jones ... Mary McGarvie
Timothy Spall ... Sugarman
Saoirse Ronan ... Benji McGarvie
Malcolm Shields ... Leith Romeo
Leni Harper Leni Harper ... Leith Romeo's wife
Ralph Riach Ralph Riach ... Mr. Robertson
Olivia Darnley ... Flower Stall Seller
Anthony O'Donnell ... Oily Librarian
Billy McColl Billy McColl ... McTavish
James Holmes ... Ugly Mug
Melanie Harris ... Rose (as Frankey Martyn)
Aileen O'Gorman Aileen O'Gorman ... Effie - Elderly Seamstress
Raymond Griffiths Raymond Griffiths ... Music Hall Dwarf
Shaun Mason Shaun Mason ... Heckler
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Storyline

During Harry Houdini's tour of Britain in 1926, the master escapologist enters into a passionate affair with a Scottish psychic. The psychic and her daughter attempt to con Houdini during a highly publicized séance to contact his mother whose death has haunted him for many years. However all does not go to plan... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Love is inescapable. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some sensuality, thematic material, language, violent content and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Australia

Language:

English | Hungarian

Release Date:

13 March 2008 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Death Defying Acts: Houdini's Secret See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,561, 13 July 2008

Gross USA:

$5,665

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,396,245
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Black and White (newsreel footage)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

In the scene before Houdini try to communicate with his passed mother via Mary McGarvie, it can be clearly seen there is a vacuum tube that happened to be a 6C33C Russian vacuum tube, which does not exist until the 60s, and further more, that vacuum tube couldn't work anymore, since it was leaked (it has a white layer of powder inside the tube that shows there is air inside). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Benji McGarvie: [with Scottish accent] When I was very small, I had a gift. I saw things other folk did nae see. It was like looking into deep water and seein' things on the other side. As I grew up, the gift vanished, just like my mam said it would. And I saw the world as it really was - with all its sweet lies and trickery. The great Houdini came into our lives, and changed everything forever.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Lockout (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

The Flowers of Edinburgh
(uncredited)
Traditional
[Played by fiddler in the pub]
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Nice premise, but proceeds without direction
16 January 2010 | by paul2001sw-1See all my reviews

It sounds like a great idea for a film: a Scottish con-woman, with the manners and mannerisms of a Morningnside lady but a heart of cold steel inside, attempts to con the great Harry Houdini. And Catherine Zeta Jones, in the lead female role, does a surprisingly great job in spite of being Welsh. Unfortunately, Guy Pierce manages to make one of the most intriguing figures of his team seem boring with his shallow performance, Timothy Spall (playing Houdini's manager) seems surprisingly ill-at-ease in a role you might have thought he was made for (and struggles throughout with his accent), while role of the con-woman's daughter is written as wholesome where a little malevolence might have spiced up the plot. In fact, this character provides a narration that seems wholly unnecessary., except to cover up the paucity of actual happenings and pad out the film. The story has notes of whimsy (the con artist, in spite of being a successful public entertainer, lives in a bizarrely Arcadian graveyard), but is never quite fanciful enough to work as fantasy; as a realist story, it's duller than it's premise suggests.


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