Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Houdini The Movie Star DVD collection released today

Kino International's new DVD box set collection of Houdini’s silent films, Houdini The Movie Star, is released today.

"Houdini The Movie Star" includes The Master Mystery, Terror Island, The Man From Beyond, Haldane of the Secret Service, a 5 minute fragment from The Grim Game, and filmed records of Houdini escapes from 1907 to 1923.

The most significant film here is Haldane of the Secret Service which has never before appeared on any retail format (and is a much better film than its reputation would suggest, IMHO). It shows as being licensed by Cinema Arts. I'm wondering if it's the print that screened in Los Angeles last year.

I'm currently working my way through the set. The films looks great and the archival footage is amazing, especially the 1907 bridge jump in Rochester NY. I also found the footnotes very very good. There's more info about Houdini's movie career on this DVD than you find in many biographies. There's even some stuff I've never heard before, like the battle with the censor board over the asylum sequence in The Man From Beyond.

There is also a lengthy chunk of Houdini's very first narrative film, The Adventures of Houdini in Paris (1909), although Kino does not credit it as such and simply includes it in the archival footage.

What a gift this set is to Houdini buffs! Now if we can only get a copy of The Grim Game...

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