Saturday, October 12, 2019

Theater owners review The Grim Game

Today marks the 100th anniversary of Houdini's The Grim Game going into wide release around the country. (It had played exclusive engagements in New York in August and Chicago in September.) Below is a collection of reviews from theater owners. These appeared in the trade journal Exhibitors Herald and offer a terrific time capsule of audience reactions. Enjoy!


And my favorite:


Related:

10 comments:

  1. Fantastic, thanks for sharing.
    Although not true, I too love the quote, "there isn't a kiss in the whole picture". There was actually a couple scenes where Houdini did kiss Ann Forrest.

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    1. At least there were in the 71 minute version of The Grim Game.

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  2. I'm wondering: Did Harry sign a two picture contract before the Grim Game, or was it a one picture deal with the second film pending on the success of the first?

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    1. I've read conflicting reports. But it seems likely it was a one picture deal with an option for a second. But I've also read reports of a multi-picture deal and that Houdini would make movies as he toured then world.

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    2. I have read that Lasky approached Houdini in March 1919 and signed him to a long-term contract with FPL to appear in a series of feature films. I also have read that after the Master Mystery serial was released, he signed a two-picture pact under the Paramount-Artcraft banner.

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    3. Is it possible that contract might still be in the Paramount archives? HH had his copy and they had theirs.

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    4. Joe and I have both seen what's left of the Paramount Grim Game file (at the Academy library) and there are no contracts. There's a better chance Houdini's copy would be at the Ransom Center or in the Ernst archive.

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    5. Ah--thank you. After 100 years not every scrap of paper would survive. Harry must have signed his copy in NYC with FPL and took it back with him to 278. The Ernst or Ransom collections are definitely the best bet.

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  3. "Mining camp patronage." Terrific time capsule is right -- great fun reading these -- thanks!

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    1. Aren't these fantastic? I just love them. I'll share more as we hit the anniversaries of upcoming films. Terror Island is much more mixed and some are pretty funny. By the time we get to Haldane they are downright vicious. More than one mentions people walking out.

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