A very enjoyable movie, though full of enough holes to occasionally provoke a snicker or two. Tony Curtis and his wife Janet Leigh performed all of the escapes in the movie, coached by professional magicians and escape artists. When I saw this movie as a kid, I got interested in escape routines-- I had my brothers tie me to a chair, which I escaped from two out of three times (I would have escaped from it the third time, but my mom saw me struggling to escape from her antique dining room chair and untied me). I bought 'escape' handcuffs, and then learned how to pick the lock in a pair of cheap handcuffs. When I was older, a magician friend of mine showed me two different types of strait jackets-- the magicians and a real one. He could escape from either-- I contented myself with the magician's version, which was no easy trick. I wonder which version Tony Curtis used in the movie?
Houdini (1953) 720p YIFY Movie
Houdini is a movie starring Tony Curtis, Janet Leigh, and Torin Thatcher. The spectacular but tragically short career of magician and illusionist Harry Houdini whose tricks defied explanation and safety.
IMDB: 6.92 Likes
The Synopsis for Houdini (1953) 720p
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.
The Director and Players for Houdini (1953) 720p
The Reviews for Houdini (1953) 720p
It led me to being tied up, handcuffed, and put in a strait jacketReviewed byrich-826Vote: 8/10
After being introduced to this movie as a child by my father, I remembered it being quite a spectacular. To a child's eyes, it probably was. However, from an adult perspective, this is the epitome of the "style over substance" Hollywood that ruled the decade in which it was made (1950s).
For a basic plot summary, this film tells the rough story of Harry Houdini (Tony Curtis), known to this day as the greatest magician of all-time. His wife, Bess (Janet Leigh), also plays a key role, as the two sometimes work together while other times are at odds over Harry's magic-fueled obsessions. This film follows the rough chronological timeline of Houdini's life, but to say that it is an accurate portrayal would be a disservice, as it really mashes a lot of things together and is just plain wrong on other accounts.
Simply put, "Houdini" is a product of its times, back when movies weren't supposed to be anything "deep". Families went to movies together, so they had to have a broad (which often equaled bland) appeal. The tale of Houdini is an utterly fascinating one, but in this portrayal it is more about letting Curtis be his charming self and putting Leigh in as many fancy dresses to show off her curves as possible.
So, if you are old enough to have watched "Houdini" around its theater date, this movie might hold a good deal of nostalgic value to you. It also seems to be great for children, as it is quite colorful and the action is always moving forward. However, if you are looking for even a hair of substantial material about Houdini and his life, please look elsewhere. Only a few scenes (mostly in the final 15 minutes of the picture) convey any real, heartfelt emotion. Otherwise, this is all about the "pomp and circumstance".
I saw this movie on TV when I was a kid in the 70s and became fascinated with Houdini (I was especially fascinated by the scene where he is trapped under the ice-covered Detroit River).
However, having read the excellent biography by Kenneth Silverman, and seeing the movie again, I realize that it is only very, very loosely based on Houdini's actual life. Very few of the events that are depicted in the movie actually occurred.
Examples (from my memory of the biography) - Houdini did not meet his wife Bess while playing a "Wild Man" in a freak show, he did not take some time off from performing magic to work in a lock manufacturing plant, there was no mystical German magician who Houdini sought out in his European travels, he never had a German personal assistant, and he did not die on stage performing a trick that Bess had asked him not to perform. In addition it does not cover a number of other topics, such as the fact that Houdini was a pioneer aviator.
On the other hand, it gets some basic details right: his close relationship with his mother, his efforts to contact her after death through psychic mediums, and his efforts to expose fraudulent psychics.
On balance, I generally like what they did in terms of weaving a few factual details into an otherwise fictionalized account of Houdini. However anyone seeking to separate myth and fact about Houdini should check out the Silverman biography.