Deconstructing Houdini '53

The 1953 Paramount biopic Houdini with Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh is what ignited my interest in Houdini. While beloved by many, the movie is often criticized for being wildly inaccurate. But I feel differently. While the movie does inject Hollywood fabrications to be sure, I'd argue that the overall plot is generally faithful to Houdini's life and every scene contains elements rooted in reality, or at least the "approved mythology" of the book on which it is based.

I've always dreamed of providing a DVD commentary where I could make my case for the greatness and accuracy of this movie. But I've not quite figured out the technology. So I've decided instead to launch a new series here on WILD ABOUT HARRY in which I will "deconstruct" the movie scene by scene, showing where it is rooted in Houdini history...and anything else that comes to mind. 

Hope you enjoy!


  1. Wonderful post. I'm enjoying every chapter

  2. So looking forward to the rest of the chapters. A great trip down memory lane.