Saturday, April 9, 2011

Haldane was here

So my cat and I were watching Haldane of the Secret Service last night, and I completely forgot that Houdini shot a scene on the embankment beside Westminster Bridge in London. I've been to this very spot many times without realizing this. So for my friends in England and those traveling to London soon, remember, Houdini stood here.

"The name's Haldane. Heath Haldane."

Below are some more thrilling cities (that's a nod to Ian Fleming) from Houdini's Haldane of the Secret Service. Houdini shot these European locations while he was on tour in 1920. At the time, he only had a vague notion for a film about counterfeiting that he was calling The Dupe. These shots do feel somewhat sandwiched in just to give the film international flavor, but it's one of the pleasures of Haldane to see these famous cities captured in time.

Below the Eiffel Tower and atop Montmarte in Paris

Hot on the trail in Glasgow, Scotland

Haldane hits Hull, England

New York, New York

UPDATE: So last night my cat and I were again watching Haldane of the Secret Service and I noticed something new in the location footage. In the below shot of a busy London railway station one can see an advertisement for the "International Horse Show" at the Olympic, June 16-28. That gives us a good idea of exactly when Houdini shot his London scenes. Houdini was in London at exactly this time.


  1. Woah now! Isn't that near the spot where George Lazenby's famous James Bond pic was taken?

  2. Yep! We've always gone there for the Bond connection, but this whole time I didn't realize there was a Houdini connection. Next time THIS is the shot that must be recreated.

  3. Remember, Houdini was there BEFORE Bond!!! :)

  4. Absolutely! And right around the same time as Sherlock Holmes. John Barrymore shot a scene for 'Sherlock Holmes' (or maybe just took photos) not far from this same spot.

  5. The burning question is: what does the cat think of it?

  6. Ha! I think she liked it actually. Think about it. A silent movie is all music for her, not the normal explosions and shouting of most movies. Much more pleasant.

  7. Any idea where the first of the two Glasgow pictures is ? I know the second is Sauchiehall Street.

    1. Afraid I don't know Glasgow so I gave no idea. But thanks for the identification of Sauchiehall Street!