In Memory of Harry Houdini

In Memory of Harry Houdini

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Houdini Jack-o’-Lantern 2014

By Tom Interval

For this year’s Houdini jack-o’-lantern, I wanted to make a scary version of Houdini’s face. It’s not perfect, but I think I’ve accomplished the scary part. Hope you enjoy, and Happy Halloween week (a.k.a., National Magic Week)!

Houdini Jack-o'-Lantern, copyright 2014 Tom Interval

Houdini Jack-o’-Lantern, copyright 2014 Tom Interval


Houdini Jack-o'-Lantern, copyright 2014 Tom Interval

Houdini Jack-o’-Lantern, copyright 2014 Tom Interval


Copyright 2014 Tom Interval

Copyright 2014 Tom Interval


Copyright 2014 Tom Interval

Copyright 2014 Tom Interval


Copyright 2014 Tom Interval

Copyright 2014 Tom Interval


Copyright 2014 Tom Interval

Copyright 2014 Tom Interval


Happy Halloween!

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Houdini’s Voice Recorded 100 Years Ago Today

By Tom Interval

It was exactly 100 years ago today that Houdini recorded his voice on Edison wax cylinders. This particular version is one I put together a couple of years ago. It’s about 3½ minutes long and is different from the standard version you’ll find online. Although the cylinders were made on October 29, 1914, they weren’t found until 1970. Watch the video for details. Happy Houdini Voice Day!

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Houdini in The New York Times Turns 10: Its Origin and Future

By Tom Interval

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Houdini in The New York Times, a website housing more than 125 articles and letters in The New York Times written by or about Harry Houdini. Please enjoy this brief history of the site and stay tuned for further updates regarding its future.

A clipping from The New York Times

A clipping from The New York Times

Have you ever browsed the old Readers’ Guide to Periodical Literature? It was one of my favorite references in my alma mater’s library, and Houdini was the first thing I looked up in those massive green volumes.

Houdini-related articles were in abundance, and many appeared in The New York Times, which isn’t surprising considering Houdini lived in New York City for the greater part of his life.

As you might recall from the pre-Internet days, to view articles listed in the Readers’ Guide, you had to first find them on microfilm, then view the film on a microfilm reader.

The original Houdini in The New York Times, in binder form

The original Houdini in The New York Times, in binder form

For whatever reason, I fixated on the Times articles about Houdini and listed in a notebook everything I could find. Over the course of several months, I found every last article on film and printed a copy of each, storing them in a binder I titled, Harry Houdini in The New York Times. That was back in 1997, and the binder lived among my Houdini books for the next seven years.

With the advent of the World Wide Web, I learned to create simple websites by studying a beginner’s book on web design. Not too long after that, I developed my first significant website: Interval Magic: (see the original archived version on the Internet Archive).

Pages of the Houdini in The New York Times binder

Pages of the original Houdini in The New York Times, in binder form

With the Interval Magic site under my belt, I decided to build a website all about Houdini, my childhood hero. My original goal was to create a virtual Houdini museum of sorts, calling it Houdini Museum, which would include biographical information, news clippings, images, videos, audio, reference materials, and some personal photos from my trips to Houdini’s gravesite, the Houdini Magical Hall of Fame in Niagara Falls, and the Library of Congress, where the majority of Houdini’s literature collection resides. I quickly purchased the domain and got to work.

Clipping from The New York Times

Clipping from The New York Times

Realizing how time-consuming making the website would be, I decided, in the mean time, to post The New York Times articles I collected seven years earlier. After hand-keying more than 125 Times articles and letters and designing what was meant to be a temporary website, I launched Houdini in The New York Times in the Spring of 2004.

The site is a wonderful free (and ad-free) resource for Houdini researchers and enthusiasts, but it’s not the comprehensive Houdini site I had once planned. Now well into its 10th year, Houdini in The New York Times hasn’t changed much, but please stay tuned because I haven’t abandoned the original plan.

Visit Houdini in The New York Times!

Please visit Houdini in The New York Times!

While my original idea for the site hasn’t seen the light of day yet, I’ve been working on it sporadically (albeit as slow as a snail crawling in tar) as I keep this blog active and plan to launch a completely revamped in the near future. The new site will still include the Times material, but that will be only one small part of it.

I’ll say no more; however, in the months ahead, please follow this blog and accompanying Facebook page and look for teasers and announcements, which will include more info on the site’s content and an actual launch date. Until then, please enjoy Houdini in The New York Times as it celebrates its 10th anniversary.




Posted in Anniversaries, Collections, Digital, Houdini in The New York Times, Houdini in The New York Times, Letters | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Handcuff Invite Poster Digital Restoration

By Tom Interval

John Cox of Wild About Harry today posted a beautiful Houdini poster that, to my knowledge, has never been published before. It’s from the New York Public Library Digital Collections.

While some historians might cringe at the notion of digitally restoring this image, I couldn’t resist. I wanted to see what it might have looked like back in Houdini’s day, without the tears and missing lettering. Honestly, I had trouble figuring out precisely how the original gray border fit into the design, but then I realized it might not have been part of the original poster. In any event, the poster on the right (see below) is the restored version—my interpretation of how the undamaged art probably looked.

My belief is that this poster is in the public domain, not only because of its age but because the source is a public library. If I’m mistaken about this, please let me know.

Before and after (Source Image: New York Public Library Digital Collections)

Before and after (Source Image: New York Public Library Digital Collections)

Part of the "Eclipsing Sensation" series of Houdini posters (Source Image: New York Public Library Digital Collections)

Part of the “Eclipsing Sensation” series of Houdini posters (Source Image: New York Public Library Digital Collections)

Animated Comparison:

Animated comparison of original vs. restored poster

Posted in Art, Collecting, Collections, Digital, Escapes, Handcuffs, New York Public Library, New York Public Library Digital Collections, Photoshop Art, Posters, Posters | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

“Nearly Dying for a Living”

By Tom Interval

Hearst's, Dec. 1919

Hearst’s, Dec. 1919 (Click on the image to read the whole article in PDF.)

History’s Houdini two-part miniseries, which aired in the United States on Sept. 1 and 2, introduces a younger generation to one of the most enduring Houdini myths of all time: the legendary escapologist and illusionist almost drowning under an ice-covered river during an outdoor exhibition in Detroit. Or was that St. Louis? No, wait, I think it might have been Pittsburgh. It depends on who tells the story. And the first to tell the tale? Harry Houdini himself, of course. If you’re not yet familiar with the whole story, read the first six paragraphs of my review of the miniseries. Versions of the fib have appeared in several Houdini biographies over the years as well as in the 1953 and 2014 biopics. To read the story as Houdini writes it, check out the December 1919 issue of Hearst’s, p. 40, in an article titled Nearly Dying for a Living (click on the link or on the image to read it in PDF). I post the article here to show members of the younger generation that not everything they see on History is true, despite the misleading name of the channel. In fact, most of what was on that show, especially in Part 1, was either a gross distortion of reality or pure fiction. You might also like to read John Cox’s excellent fact-check on the Wild About Harry blog.


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Legends and Lore Persist in Houdini Miniseries

By Tom Interval

Adrien Brody as Houdini, jumping into a very cold river in a scene that did not happened in real life. (Photo: A+E Networks)

Adrien Brody as Houdini, jumping into a very cold river in a scene that did not happened in real life. (Photo: A+E Networks) (Click to enlarge)

It’s the dead of winter. Thousands of gawking spectators flood a bridge spanning the frozen river below. The crowd braves the bone-splitting cold for only one reason: to see a man die.

Of course, they might not admit that, but death is what draws them there. Or at least the possibility of it. But escaping the Reaper under these conditions is nothing new for Harry Houdini, arguably the most renowned magician, escapologist, and showman the world will ever know.

With the crowd’s train-wreck gaze upon him, Houdini is handcuffed and locked into a wooden crate, which is slowly lowered toward a hole in the otherwise ice-covered water. The supporting chain snaps and the mob gasps as the crate plunges into the water and sinks to the bottom of the river.

Within seconds, Houdini deftly sheds the cuffs and escapes the crate but can’t find the opening in the ice when he tries to return to the surface. Running out of air, he frantically searches as the audience above waits. To stay alive, he takes breaths from pockets of air between the ice and the surface of the water.

Left: Tony Curtis in the 1953 Houdini movie (Photo: Paramount Pictures); Right: Adrien Brody in the 2014 Houdini miniseries (Photo: A+E Networks)

Left: Tony Curtis in the 1953 Houdini movie (Photo: Paramount Pictures); Right: Adrien Brody in the 2014 Houdini miniseries (Photo: A+E Networks) (Click to enlarge)

Concerned, Houdini’s assistants use grappling hooks to fish the crate out of the water, only to discover the magician is not inside. Bess, Houdini’s wife, faints. The audience, assuming the worst, waits no more. Houdini’s assistant stays long after everyone leaves, waiting loyally by the hole for his boss to return.

Later, at the Houdinis’ hotel room, Bess cries as she looks out the window, hoping for good news to arrive. Enter Houdini. Bess runs to the door and smothers him with hugs and kisses. He’s alive! He tells her he found his way out of the water after following the ethereal sound of his mother’s voice, which led him to the opening in the ice. A few seconds later, the phone rings. The caller tells Houdini his mother died. (Twilight Zone music please, maestro.)

And that’s how the story goes, according to Houdini, the 1953 movie starring Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. Unfortunately, there’s one minor problem with the tale: It isn’t true, as is the case with many legends and lore about Houdini.

Kristen Connolly and Adrien Brody in Houdini (Photo: Colin Hutton/A+E Networks)

Kristen Connolly and Adrien Brody in Houdini (Photo: Colin Hutton/A+E Networks) (Click to enlarge)

But knowing a story isn’t true doesn’t stop Hollywood from repeating or embellishing it. And why should it? After all, we’re talking about fiction, right? When creating a biopic, “you don’t necessarily get every single little fact right because that’s not the point of making one of these movies,” says actress Kristen Connolly in a recent interview. “Sometimes with storytelling, the truth is in the bigger picture and not in every single little detail.” Kristen, known for her work in House of Cards and The Cabin in the Woods, plays Bess Houdini alongside Adrien Brody in History’s Houdini two-part miniseries, which premiers tonight at 9 p.m. ET/PT and continues tomorrow at the same time.

Kristen makes a great argument, but there are exceptions. Case in point: The Houdini biopic premiering tonight will air on the History channel. The operative word here is “History.” Sure, writers and directors have artistic license, but having a show air on a channel called History pretty much implies that at least the smaller details will be historically accurate. That’s definitely not the case with the miniseries, which makes several errors the creators either missed or don’t care about:

  • The spelling of Houdini’s real Americanized first name is Ehrich, not Erich.
  • The book that inspired young Ehrich to change his name to Houdini is Memoirs of Robert-Houdin, not R. Houdin, Magician.
  • Houdini’s mother died in 1913, not 1914.
  • Houdini didn’t drink alcohol, let alone get drunk on the bathroom floor and threaten suicide.
  • Bess didn’t smoke marijuana.
  • Houdini and his chief assistant, Jim Collins, both devised the Water Torture Cell, not just Collins.
  • When Houdini traveled with the Welsh Brothers Circus as a young man, he briefly performed as “Projea, the Wild Man of Mexico,” not “The Wild Man from Borneo.”
  • It’s highly unlikely Houdini would say “He was nobody” when referring to his late father, Mayer Samuel Weiss (Jeremy Wheeler).
  • Some of the magic props used in the series were too modern for the time period.
  • Houdini almost certainly did not dislocate his shoulder to escape from straitjackets even though he, himself, claimed to do so.
  • Houdini was 5’6″, not 5’8½, as it appeared on his passport in the miniseries.
  • There is no evidence to support the claim that Houdini was a spy.
  • Houdini might have had one affair in real life (that’s still questionable), but he was definitely not the playboy the miniseries makes him out to be.
  • Houdini loved his mother, but he didn’t have an Oedipus complex, which is supposedly an unconscious desire for a parent of the opposite sex and hatred for a parent of the same sex.
  • The Grim Game (one of the movies Houdini made), came out in 1919, not 1922. And the related newspaper article with a photo showing the Hollywood sign behind Houdini was an error because the sign wasn’t built until 1923 (and it originally read, “Hollywoodland”).
  • The book Houdini wrote about mediums is titled A Magician Among the Spirits (PDF), not Fake Mediums and Their Methods. Apparently the creators of the miniseries got that title from a book Houdini actually did write: Miracle Mongers and Their Methods.
  • The fateful punch to Houdini’s abdomen occurred in Montreal, Canada, at McGill University, not in Detroit. And the man who punched him was a McGill student named J. Gordon Whitehead, not some guy who retributively said afterward, “That’s for calling Lady Doyle a fake.”

And the list goes on.

Some of the more significant scenes in the series are either inaccurate or invented, which is to be expected in a fictional portrayal. This is where artistic license comes in.

Left: from the 1953 Houdini biopic starring Tony Curtis (Photo: Paramount Pictures); Right: from the 2014 Houdini miniseries starring Adrien Brody (Photo: A+E Networks)

Left: from the 1953 Houdini biopic starring Tony Curtis (Photo: Paramount Pictures); Right: from the 2014 Houdini miniseries starring Adrien Brody (Photo: A+E Networks) (Click to enlarge)

Like the 1953 Curtis film, History’s biopic recycles the hole-in-the-ice story, which, by the way, Houdini himself made up, even changing the location of the event when retelling the tale to reporters. The version in the miniseries is basically the same as the one in the Curtis film except Brody’s Houdini isn’t locked in a packing crate and lowered into the water; instead, he’s simply cuffed and chained before jumping off the bridge. In both the Curtis and Brody films, Houdini prepares for the stunt by taking baths in ice water.

Left: Torin Thatcher and Tony Curtis in the 1953 Houdini movie (Photo: Paramount Pictures); Right: Evan Jones and Adrien Brody in the 2014 Houdini miniseries (Photo: A+E Networks)

Left: Torin Thatcher and Tony Curtis in the 1953 Houdini movie (Photo: Paramount Pictures); Right: Evan Jones and Adrien Brody in the 2014 Houdini miniseries (Photo: A+E Networks) (Click to enlarge)

Another, less significant, scene in the miniseries that borrows from the 1953 film takes place in Harry and Bess’s bedroom on their wedding night. In the Curtis film, Houdini wakes Bess in the middle of the night and asks her to climb into a large wooden box, where she reclines with her head and feet protruding from the ends. Her bewilderment turns to hysteria as he begins to cut her in half with a four-foot handsaw. After the sawing and screaming stop, she asks him if they’ll be doing something like that every night. “Was it so awful?” he asks, to which she replies, “No, but I expected something different on my wedding night.”

Left: Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh in the 1953 Houdini movie (Photo: Paramount Pictures); Right: Adrien Brody and Kristen Connolly in the 2014 Houdini miniseries (Photo: A+E Networks)

Left: Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh in the 1953 Houdini movie (Photo: Paramount Pictures); Right: Adrien Brody and Kristen Connolly in the 2014 Houdini miniseries (Photo: A+E Networks) (Click to enlarge)

The scene blends perfectly with the Curtis film because the entire movie is filled with humorous moments like that. However, in History’s version of the scene, there doesn’t seem to be any purpose for it. It’s similar to the 1953 picture, only without the humor; and the wooden box they use is not the sawing-in-half trick but Metamorphosis, a trademark illusion Houdini performed early in his career, first with his brother Dash (Tom Benedict Knight), then Bess.

Left: Tony Curtis, Houdini (1953) (Photo: Paramount Pictures); Right: Paul Michael Glaser, The Great Houdini (1976) (Photo: ABC Circle Films)

Left: Tony Curtis in the 1953 Houdini movie (Photo: Paramount Pictures); Right: Paul Michael Glaser in the 1976 television movie, The Great Houdini (Photo: ABC Circle Films) (Click to enlarge)

Not surprisingly, History’s Houdini is not the first biopic to copy ideas from previous films. The Great Houdini, a 1976 television movie starring Paul Michael Glaser and Sally Struthers, lifts a scene from the 1953 film in which Houdini picks a lock with his toes to escape from a jail cell. Both movies have our hero slip his leg through the bars of the cell to open the lock on an adjacent wall, but the ’53 version artfully incorporates its trademark humor into the scene while the ’76 pic plays it straight. Brody’s Houdini also escapes from jail cells but doesn’t pick the locks with his toes.

These are just a few examples of how Hollywood distorts Houdini history in the name of entertainment. All of those aside, I actually enjoyed both parts of the miniseries overall, even with its imperfections and cliché moments. I do wish its creators were more original. I mean, how many more times do we have to see the iced-river story in a Houdini biopic? There are plenty of daring escapes and close calls that actually did take place in Houdini’s career, and those could enthrall audiences just as effectively. Even so, I’d be lying if I said the series didn’t entertain me.

Part 1

Part 1, to air tonight, spans Houdini’s life from childhood to about the time he was performing his milk-can escape—around 1908 in real life. I’m not crazy about the jumps back and forth in time, with some of the most important moments in the life of young Ehrich Weiss (Houdini’s Americanized real name) glossed over or completely ignored. For example, besides Dash, where is the rest of Ehrich’s family? He had four brothers, one half brother, and a sister; although, the half brother died in 1885, so him not being in the show might make sense.

Adrien Brody and Kristen Connolly, Houdini (2014) (Photo: A+E Networks)

Adrien Brody and Kristen Connolly, Houdini (2014) (Photo: A+E Networks) (Click to enlarge)

Equally annoying were symbolic references to Houdini’s supposed Oedipus complex and the excessive number of shots showing his abdomen being punched, both from the outside and the inside, complete with muscle fibers, body fluids, and all. I get the reasoning behind this imagery, and it might have been more effective had they done it maybe three or four times throughout the series, but each time Houdini challenges a person to punch his washboard abdomen, or when someone says something emotionally hurtful to him: WHAM! PUNCH! (Slimy sounds) PUNCH! FORESHADOW! (The repeated punches foreshadow the supposedly fateful blows Houdini receives a little more than a week before he dies; the punches will forever be linked to his death, regardless of their medical relevance.)

To clarify, not all the CGI internal shots were bothersome. In fact, some of them were fantastic. For example, when challenged to escape from a pair of handcuffs, we see the internal workings of the locking mechanism as Houdini picks it (see the official Houdini sneak peek). Later in the same episode, we see a similar shot of the inside of a safe. In a shot during Part 2 of the series, we’re inside a cannon barrel as the propelled ball shoots toward us just before Houdini tries to escape from the ropes that bind him to the front of the cannon.

Adrien Brody as Houdini, about to perform the Bullet Catch (Photo: A+E Networks)

Adrien Brody as Houdini, about to perform the Bullet Catch (Photo: A+E Networks) (Click to enlarge)

Overall, Part 1 is packed with engaging magic and thrilling escape scenes. During the episode, Houdini escapes from two jail cells; presents his famous Water Torture Cell in which he must escape from a water-filled tank while hanging upside-down; catches a bullet between his teeth in a private performance for German Emperor Wilhelm II; gives a parlor performance for Tsar Nicholas II and his family; and escapes from a water-filled milk can.

My favorite scenes include the performances given for Wilhelm and Nicholas, on whom Houdini also spies at the request of US and British intelligence agencies. “One of the strangest illusions I was ever asked to pull off,” says Houdini, “was something called espionage.” And it is an illusion because there’s no evidence to show Houdini was ever a spy. But there was one stand-out spy scene involving an escape from a safe. At the risk of spoiling it, I’ll say no more.

Louis Mertens as Ehrich Weiss (Photo: A+E Networks)

Louis Mertens as Ehrich Weiss (Photo: A+E Networks) (Click to enlarge)

Also during Part 1, we see young Ehrich (Louis Mertens) as an apprentice to Maxwell the Magnificent (more artistic license from the creators); Houdini meets Jim Collins (Evan Jones), his chief assistant and engineer; he presents his mother—who’s dressed in a gown said to have been made for Queen Victoria—at a grand reception in Budapest for all their relatives; and sleeps with a woman (apparently Elizabeth Thompson, a British painter) after fighting with Bess (Hollywood seems to love stories of infidelity). This episode also touched upon Houdini’s Australian flight (he was the first person to make a controlled powered flight in Australia) and revealed several magic and escape secrets throughout. The episode ends with a cliffhanger relating to his jump into the frozen river.

Part 2

Adrien Brody ad Houdini (Photo: Egon Endreyi/A+E Networks)

Adrien Brody in Houdini (Photo: Egon Endreyi/A+E Networks) (Click to enlarge)

The opening scene in Part 2 of Houdini quickly resolves the cliffhanger from Part 1. This episode, noticeably shorter than the first, spends most of the time on Houdini’s crusade against fraudulent spiritualists of the day, but not before a few notable scenes featuring an upside-down straitjacket escape, Jenny the vanishing elephant at the New York Hippodrome, and the onstage performance of walking through a brick wall. During the latter trick, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (David Calder) and his wife Lady Doyle (Linda Marlowe) are in the audience. After Houdini’s show, the Doyles go backstage to introduce themselves to Harry and Bess, and they all become quick friends, despite the fact Sir Arthur believes Houdini has supernatural abilities.

Adrien Brody as Houdini riding Jenny the elephant (Photo: A+E Networks)

Adrien Brody as Houdini, riding Jenny the elephant (Photo: A+E Networks) (Click to enlarge)

After another fight with Bess, Houdini sleeps with yet another woman, this one who saw him perform the upside-down straitjacket escape earlier. Harry and Bess kiss and make up, but not too long after that, Houdini gets a wire telling him his mother, Cecilia Weiss (Eszter Ónodi), died (as written above, this was inaccurately represented as taking place in 1914; his mother died in 1913).

As most Houdini biopics do, this one implies that the death of Cecilia drives him to expose false spirit mediums. However, Houdini had an ongoing interest in spiritualism throughout his life, which is even illustrated in this episode with a flashback of Harry and Bess in their Vaudeville days performing a spiritualist-themed act in which Bess supposedly channels the spirit of a woman who had been murdered.

Nonetheless, it’s true that the death of his mother plays at least a small role in his crusade against spiritualism. He tries to contact her spirit many times during seances, each time becoming more and more discouraged. During this phase of his life, he exposes the methods of several mediums, sometimes attending seances in disguise, then whisking away his costume as he says, “I am The Great Houdini!” One of his biggest disappoints occurred after Lady Doyle’s failed attempt to contact his late mother through the process of automatic writing.

Megan Dodds as Margery the Medium (Photo: A+E Networks)

Megan Dodds as Margery the Medium (Photo: A+E Networks) (Click to enlarge)

Perhaps fueled by these disappointments, or by the fact that fraudulent mediums preyed upon vulnerable people who lost loved ones in World War I, Houdini targeted Mina Crandon, a.k.a., Margery (Megan Dodds), a Boston medium whom he exposed during a seance. After the seance, Margery, wearing nothing but a fur coat, propositioned Houdini while in his hotel room, hoping to convince him not to write his expose for Scientific American. Surprisingly (at least in the context of this show), he declined.

Adrien Brody and Kristen Connolly (Photo: A+E Networks)

Adrien Brody and Kristen Connolly (Photo: A+E Networks) (Click to enlarge)

The final scenes of Part 2 include the events leading up to Houdini’s death—everything from breaking his ankle in Detroit to the supposed ill-fated punch leading to peritonitis and thus his untimely death. During a scene in the hospital just before his death, something happens I can only call creepy, for lack of a better term. I won’t describe it here, but it relates to Houdini: A Mind in Chains: A Psychoanalytic Portrait, the book upon which the miniseries is supposedly based (and written by the father of Nicholas Meyer, the writer of the Houdini series). I write “supposedly” because there are elements in the series that mirror those in another biography, The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America’s First Superhero.


As I wrote earlier, I enjoyed watching both parts of Houdini, despite some of its shortcomings. It might not be your favorite television series of all time, but it’s worth watching at least once, and if you’re a Houdini enthusiast like me, then you’ll definitely want to buy the DVD for your collection (no, Lionsgate/A+E did not ask or pay me to write that).

As for the acting, Adrien Brody and Kristen Connolly do a great job in bringing Harry and Bess to life in their own ways. The rest of the cast also is impressive, and the photography, costumes, and set design are well done.

My only complaint, besides the inaccuracies listed earlier, is that the contemporary dialogue and industrial-rock music seem to be out of place for the period in which the film takes place. It’s somewhat distracting at times, especially when some characters use terms and phrases not coined until well after Houdini dies. Examples include “Enquiring minds want to know” (1980s), “escape artist” (1940-1945), “pissed” (1940s, in the context of being angry), and shtick (1955-1960). And it wasn’t just the terms themselves but the actual manner in which most of the actors spoke. Also, there are some modern magic props in the film that have no business being in a period piece.

One of the strongest points about the Houdini miniseries is that it breaks new ground in terms of covering topics about Houdini’s career that are previously unexplored in any biopic. That alone should inspire Houdiniphiles to watch with sincere interest. And if you don’t consider yourself a Houdini or magic fan, I still recommend watching it because there are plenty of suspenseful escape scenes and interesting story lines. But please—please—keep in mind that it’s not a documentary. If you want to know actual facts abut Houdini, I highly recommend reading Houdini!!! The Career of Ehrich Weiss, by Kenneth Silverman.



Lionsgate/A+E Studios Co-Production


Harry Houdini: Adrien Brody
Bess Houdini: Kristen Connolly
Jim Collins: Evan Jones

Music: John Debney
Editing: Sabrina Plisco, ACE and David Beatty
Production Design: Patrizia Von Brandenstein
Director of Photography: Karl Walter Lindenlaub, ASC, buk
Co-Producer: David Minkowski
Producer: Ildiko Kemeny
Executive Producer: Andras Hamori
Executive Producer: Gerald W. Abrams
Writer: Nicholas Meyer
Director: Uli Edel
Executives in Charge of Production: Dirk Hoogstra and Julian P. Hobbs

Based on the book Houdini: A Mind in Chains: a Psychoanalytic Portrait, by Bernard C. Meyer, M.D.




Posted in Authors, Bernard C. Meyer, Bess, Cannon, Cecilia, Death, Escapes, Literature, Mayer, Milk Can, Movies, Parents, Portrayals, Siblings, Straitjacket, Television, Theodore (Hardeen), Water Torture Cell | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments