Friday, June 21, 2013

Houdini (1953)

Director: George Marshall

Starring: Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, Torin Thatcher, Angela Clarke, Stefan Schnabel, Ian Wolfe, Sig Ruman, Michael Pate, Connie Gilchrist, Malcolm Lee Beggs, Frank Orth, Barry Bernard, Douglas Spencer

More info: IMDb

Plot:  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.


My rating: 6.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

Don't watch this if you're looking for a biography on Houdini.  This is utter horseshit when it comes to that. There's very little in this picture that resembles the truth.  Now if you're looking for an entertaining movie about a magician then you've come to the right place.  Curtis and Leigh (married to each other in real life) both put in fine performances.  They seem like they're really in love and there's a playfulness to their on screen marriage that you don't often see.  I've been a fan of Houdini since I was a little kid.  He inspired me to do my own magic tricks way back when. I was naive but I still tried.  It was a short lived career for this 7 year old.  A few years ago in my short lived acting career in theater I had the pleasure of playing Houdini in the musical, RAGTIME.  That was a whole bunch of fun.  I'm really disappointed in this picture as nearly all of it is fiction but if I separate this and look at it as entertainment then it succeeds somewhat.  It's formulaic and therefore predictable.  But the pacing races, making the 106 minutes fly by so you feel like you've been on a nice, breezy ride but not one that I'm likely to revisit.

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