Monday, May 29, 2006

Mystic Circle Murder released on DVD

Alpha Video has released the rarely seen film Mystic Circle Murder on DVD.

Made in 1938, this low-budget film features a cameo by Bess Houdini playing herself (referred to as "Madame Houdini" in the film). In an opening scene, we get to see (and hear!) Bessie as she, presumably, returns from the Final Houdini Seance to extinguish the candle she kept burning for 10 years on her famous “Houdini shrine”. So the legend goes...

Know that much of the "grieving widow's pilgrimage" was engineered by Dr. Edward Saint, Bess' boyfriend and business partner (and some say secret husband) during the 1930s in Hollywood. In fact, Ed Saint is credited on Mystic Circle Murder as the "technical advisor."

Mystic Circle Murder (also known by the title Religious Racketeers) stars Betty Compson and Robert Friske and was directed by Frank O’Conner. While the film itself is pretty tedious, it's a must-own for Houdini buffs as it offers the only sound film of Bessie in existence.


  1. aka Mystic Circle Mystery on many of the old bootlegs from the 80's - 00's I have a VHS tape somewhere with that title on it. A quick Google seach shows that that name still appears. Neither here nor there really.

  2. I also had it on VHS. But the Alpha DVD is good and cheap. No need to seek out a bootleg anymore. I'm sure the Bessie scene can be found somewhere online as well.