Terror Island, Motion Picture News, Vol. 1, 1920:
Highly impossible as the ancient hokum is, it is going to take a lot of explanation as more apology than what is offered to make even a child believe the stunts that take place underwater. Houdini might get away with it on a bet, but not Lila Lee.Ouch!
While Terror Island is not a masterpiece, it's not this bad. Feels like Motion Picture News had it out for Harry somewhat. It is interesting to find the phrase "goes back to the nickelodeon days" in a review from 1920. Cool how the industry had already developed a sense of advancement.
But it wasn't all bad for Harry in Hollywood. His first Paramount feature fared far better with the critics, including this review in the November 1919 issue of Photoplay:
The Grim Game, Photoplay, November 1919:
This last review almost seems too good to be true -- and maybe it is. Recall that Photoplay was a part of Macfadden Publications where Houdini had a good friend in editor, Fulton Oursler (who would later write his own "Houdini" movie for RKO).
Nevertheless, The Grim Game is supposed to be Houdini's best film, so while this review might be a touch effusive, it's overall assessment is shared by many. One bit of nice info is that Ann Forest was also known as Ann Kroman. That I didn't know.
|Harry gets comfortable and catches up on his latest reviews in Variety|