×

Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Houdini
     

Houdini

Director: George Marshall, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, Torin Thatcher

Cast: George Marshall, Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, Torin Thatcher

 

See All Formats & Editions

This highly fanciful but immensely entertaining biopic stars Tony Curtis as legendary magician/escape-artist Harry Houdini. Janet Leigh, Mrs. Tony Curtis at the time, co-stars as Houdini's wife Bess, while Angela Clarke is seen as Houdini's mother. The film follows Houdini's progress from sideshow entertainer to high-priced prestidigitator, and also touches upon his

Overview

This highly fanciful but immensely entertaining biopic stars Tony Curtis as legendary magician/escape-artist Harry Houdini. Janet Leigh, Mrs. Tony Curtis at the time, co-stars as Houdini's wife Bess, while Angela Clarke is seen as Houdini's mother. The film follows Houdini's progress from sideshow entertainer to high-priced prestidigitator, and also touches upon his fascination with the occult--and his efforts to expose phony mediums. Philip Yordan's script (based on a book by Harold Kellock) suggests that virtually every portentous occasion in Houdini's life occurred on Halloween day, including his death from peritonitis in 1926. The facts of Houdini's life seldom get in the way of Yordan's story; while general audiences won't spot too many discrepancies, professional magicians tend to howl with laughter at some of the film's intentional boners. Example: In real life, Houdini's appendix was fatally ruptured by a punch to the stomach; in the film, he injures himself by accidentally bumping into one of his props, the sword-studded "Temple of Benares" trick--which hadn't yet been invented in 1926! Still, it's fun to watch Tony Curtis wriggle his way out of some of Houdini's most baffling escape routines (both Curtis and Janet Leigh were carefully instructed on the set by professional magicians, who swore the stars to secrecy concerning the tricks of the trade). For a more accurate slant on Houdini's life, see the 1976 TV movie The Great Houdinis, starring Paul Michael Glaser and Sally Struthers.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Anyone looking for a credible biography of the great escape artist known as Houdini is well advised to look elsewhere. But those looking for an engaging, if highly fanciful, little bit of Hollywood escapism have come to the right place. Certainly, Houdini gets some of the facts straight -- but it gets at least as many wrong (including the manner in which the man died). In other words, this is another typical Hollywood biopic -- but it's well cast and well executed. Perhaps most importantly, the tricks are presented in a manner that inspires suspense and tension. And the love story, while very much in a typical Hollywood mold, actually holds the viewer's attention. Credit Philip Yordan's screenplay, which while hardly a masterpiece is better than average; credit too George Marshall's astute and careful direction. But most of all credit Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, who at the time were husband and wife, for the charisma and chemistry they bring to their roles. Curtis is a delight, and totally believable as a magician. It's one of his smoothest performances. Leigh is lovely throughout, making a big impression with what is actually a subsidiary role. Neither star is indulging in what one would call great acting -- but they're being exceptionally good at screen performing, and in this kind of film, that makes all the difference.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/15/2016
UPC:
0887090129411
Original Release:
1953
Rating:
NR
Source:
Olive Films
Region Code:
1
Time:
1:46:00
Sales rank:
19,479

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tony Curtis Harry Houdini
Janet Leigh Bess Houdini
Torin Thatcher Otto
Angela Clarke Mrs. Weiss
Stefan Schnabel Prosecuting Attorney
Douglas Spencer Simms
Sig Rumann Schultz
Ian Wolfe Malue
Michael Pate Dooley
Connie Gilchrist Mrs. Schultz
Malcolm Lee Beggs Warden
Frank Orth White-haired Man
Barry Bernard Inspector
Elsie Ames Actor
Oliver Blake Actor
Billy Bletcher Italian Basso
Cliff Clark Actor
Edward Clark Doorman
Fred Essler Official-Looking Man
Joanne Gilbert Girl
Arthur E. Gould-Porter Alhambra Manager
Alec Harford Assistant
Grace Hayle Woman Who Screams
Harry Hines Actor
Frank Jaquet Foreman
Tor Johnson Strong Man
Lyle Latell Calcott
Torben Meyer Headwaiter
Mary Murphy Actor
Erno Verebes Prof. Allegari
Anthony Warde MC
Lawrence Ryle German Judge
Lewis Martin Editor
Mabel Paige Medium
Peter Baldwin Fred
Richard Shannon Miner
Tudor Owen Blacksmith

Technical Credits
George Marshall Director
Sam Comer Set Decoration/Design
Frank Freeman Associate Producer
Gene Garvin Sound/Sound Designer
Edith Head Costumes/Costume Designer
Gordon Jennings Special Effects
Ernest Laszlo Cinematographer
Harry D. Mills Sound/Sound Designer
Michael D. Moore Asst. Director
Ray Moyer Set Decoration/Design
Albert Nozaki Art Director
George Pal Producer
Hal Pereira Art Director
George Tomasini Editor
Roy Webb Score Composer
Wally Westmore Makeup
Philip Yordan Screenwriter

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Houdini
1. Chapter 1
2. Chapter 2
3. Chapter 3
4. Chapter 4
5. Chapter 5
6. Chapter 6
7. Chapter 7
8. Chapter 8
9. Chapter 9

Videos

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews