Saturday, December 12, 2015
The Tony Curtis lead bio of Houdini has some basis in reality, It has characters representing Houdini, Bess (his wife) and Houdini’s mother and it has him performing magic in the US and Europe. Outside of that the film is pretty much fictional. This isn’t to say the film is bad. Just that any connection to reality is purely coincidental.
Nominally the film is the life of Houdini from birth to death and it charts his rise to fame and fortune. Its entertaining in the way that only old Hollywood films can be. Tony Curtis is wonderful as Houdini and Janet Leigh is great as his wife. There is great magic tricks,humor and just enough drama to keep it interesting. Quite frankly until I really studied Houdini I thought this film was the absolute tops.
If you wanted to know where I learned that Hollywood made stuff up about real people it was this film. Inspired by the film I started to read about Houdini and I quickly found out how wrong Hollywood can get it. I mean it ends with the way many people think he died (which is the result of this film) when the Chinese Water Torture trick went wrong. There are other burps and fabrications that make for a great movie but aren't real. I was so upset that I didn't watch this film, which was a childhood favorite, again for a decade or more.
Recently I caught the whole film again at on the MOVIES!TV network and discovered that if you forgive all the fabrication this is a solid little entertainment. Its just something put on and smile to for two hours. Its a popcorn film of the highest order which in this day and age is enough.