Thursday, April 22, 2021

Forgotten Films remembers Houdini '53

This review from the blog Forgotten Films is a few years old, but I still wanted to share as I love the reviewer's personal memories of seeing the film as a kid. He begins:
Growing up in the Chicago area we had a program that aired on Sunday afternoons called Family Classics. The kindly host Frazier Thomas, who also was on Bozo’s Circus, would introduce the films sitting in a big chair in front of a fireplace. I’m pretty sure that I saw a portion of today’s movie on that show when I was a kid…and it terrified me.

This is not the first time I've heard of kids being frightened by Houdini '53, and this has always intrigued me. While the movie didn't scare me, it certainly got under my skin!

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. I could see why a kid would be scared during the Detroit River sequences as they are so effective. You can really "feel the cold" and Harry's desperation to get a breath of air under the ice. Though I remember it more as a "wow, this is intense" feeling when I saw it as a kid (which is how I still respond to it). Likewise with the climax where we see Houdini desperately trying to get out of the torture cell. But mostly, I just felt heartbroken that he was dying, because I'd grown to love him so much during the film. And I certainly don't agree that Tony and Janet were somewhat miscast; I think it was wonderful casting, and I still feel they understood and cared about Harry and Bess to an enormous degree to have played them so beautifully. But we all process films differently. (The sequence where Harry meets Otto and sees the "man in the bottle" miniature is spooky, but I think a lot of that has to do with the creepy music in the scene.) Interesting to read the author's take on it, though; thanks for sharing.