Friday, January 24, 2020

Unseen Haldane of the Secret Service

Here is what appears to be unused footage from Houdini's Haldane of the Secret Service (1923). In it we see Heath Haldane (Houdini) following Adele Ormsby (Gladys Leslie). I'm not sure where in the movie this would have occurred as it does not seem to fit anywhere into the existing plotline. This footage has never appeared anywhere and comes courtesy of our friend Jon Oliver (the man who sleeps in Houdini's bed).


One thing to note here is Houdini/Haldane's clothes. This outfit is never seen in the final film. Interestingly, this same outfit appears in several Terror Island publicity photos, yet Houdini never wears this outfit in that film either.


In real life Houdini sported a similar outfit when he traveled to Austria in 1910 and stopped off in exotic ports such as Egypt and Ceylon. So forget the lost Margery Box, Voisin, and Automaton; I want to know what happened to Houdini's pith helmet!

Thanks to Jon Oliver.

Related:

12 comments:

  1. Fantastic!
    On page 2 of the TI pressbook, there is production cut number 9930 with him with the pith helmet. While I don’t think the pith helmet (in the unseen HOSS footage and the 5 publicity stills from TI) is the same as the one he wore when he traveled in 1910, I found it interesting that Christopher mentions that Houdini intended to issue an illustrated book about this trip around the world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, there are several TI pith helmet publicity shots, and that cutting shows up in a lot of newspaper adverts. But it does not appear to be the same one he wore in 1910. That was more traditional style. This one is British Colonial.

      Delete
    2. And until this footage, I've never see anything that connects this outfit to Haldane. I've only ever seen it in TI pics.

      Delete
    3. Besides plans of an illustrated book, I also find it interesting that after TI, Houdini had plans of a world tour making a photoplay of adventure in every country he visited (rocking his pith helmet), lol.

      Delete
  2. Must have been for a tropical locale setting. It may have meant strip to Catalina Island or the Bahamas. The cost must have forced HH to nix it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it's meant to be somewhere in the far east. A lot of far east whatnot in the film. It's possible the idea was to have Haldane and Adele travel there as part of the globtrotting plot. But I don't know where it would fit. The Haldane treatment Houdini published also doesn't have this.

      Delete
  3. Thanks, John and Jon, for sharing this; fascinating to see. Even though it's short, there are no edits/closeups where one might expect to see them, so I would guess it must've been discarded early on, before the entire film was edited. Amazing that it exists.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it's just a master shot. So it doesn't appear to have been cut from the movie. Likely it was never included. Then again, the HPC movies are loaded with master shots that play without expected closeups and coverage. They are not great "cinema". And frequently not even competent cinema, so...

      Delete
  4. It’s possible, he was going to tie the unseen HOSS footage in with unseen TI footage. Just a thought!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd say that's unlikely as I don't think Houdini would be able to mix HPC footage and Paramount footage. He didn't have any ownership of his Lasky films.

      Delete

Legal Disclosure

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Translate

Receive updates via email