Saturday, June 5, 2010

Tony Curtis assumes THE pose

Kevin Connolly Collection

On the occasion of his 85th birthday, Kevin Connolly has shared this rare signed still of Tony Curtis from the 1953 film Houdini ("Joe" is Joe Dunniger, btw). What’s cool about this is, aside from a quick glimpse in the film, this is the first still I’ve seen of Curtis recreating this famous Houdini pose.

Recreating this pose has become de rigor publicity for the men who have played Houdini. Who did it best? You decide.

Glaser, Schaech, and Bentley assume the pose

The real deal

For more on this famous photo see: A Houdini photo you've never seen.


  1. Curtis and Schaech both did it right, in different ways. Curtis approached it with more of a friendly, smiling candor (which is appropriate for a press shot), and he captures Houdini's photogenic charm. Schaech's pose, on the other hand, goes for authenticity---his pose looks the most like the original photo. It helps that he has a similar (if more hulky) physiology to Houdini, and whoever designed the shot actually bothered to get the lighting and the locks and chains right. So authentically speaking, Schaech's pose is best...but I think Curtis has more charm in his pose (Schaech looks too much like he's glowering at the camera).

    Glaser is squatting, rather than bending, which looks all wrong (plus his photo isn't lit right...his shadow is too prominent). Bentley's expression is right, but he seems to be going for a ready-to-act rather than a solid stance...which is fine, but the spread-apart legs don't carry the same feel that Houdini's mostly symmetrical pose does.

  2. Something I forgot to consider is height difference. Paul Michael Glaser was rather taller than Houdini was, no? That might be why he's forced to squat with similar chains.

    1. That's a very good point, Beth. I sometimes wonder why so many escapes artists -- then and now -- look awkward in Houdini-like poses. Never thought about the height. Just like short movies stars, Houdini's height made him photograph better.