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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
Three years before this film was made, 20th-Century Fox was negotiating with Houdini's family to make a picture called "The Life of Houdini" and starring Burt Lancaster in the title role. See more »
Newspaper editor looks over layout for "whatever happened to Houdini?" article, then assigns a reporter to go out and investigate the story. This is absolutely backwards - a story of such a speculative nature would always be written first, with layout following after the fact. See more »
I hadn't prepared anything for tonight, but perhaps I have something that will amuse you. So if you'll get a couple of broomsticks, I'll get my wife - and we'll see what we can do.
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The story of master magician Harry Houdini (18741926) becomes a glossy star-vehicle for Tony Curtis in the lead--and though the facts of Houdini's life are lumped right together with the Hollywood dross (as if this movie magazine-styled spread were one big true-life story), one is drawn in by Curtis' apparent commitment to the role. Director George Marshall stages some exciting set-pieces and a nice romance ensues between Tony's Houdini and assistant Bess, played by Curtis' real-life spouse Janet Leigh (doing appealing work). Philip Yordan adapted Harold Kellock's book, and the results are (surprisingly) entertaining despite all the requisite corn and clichés. **1/2 from ****
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