Houdini: The Movie Star (1919 - 1923) 3 x DVD9
As early as 1901 Houdini recognized the power of film. That year he made a short for Pathe that showcased a number of his escapes and tricks, which is sadly lost. In the following years Houdini would film some of his larger scale spectacles and screen them during his stage show, and in 1918 decided to become a movie star. He filmed several films and a 15-part serial before giving up on the movies in 1923. Some of his films have been lost, along with a few chapters of the serial, but Kino now put together an amazing collection: Houdini: The Movie Star. This set brings together all three of Houdini's existing movies as well as the surviving chapters of his serial The Master Mystery. Not only that, but the set contains extensive and informative notes of the films and their production as well as several shorts of Houdini escapes, an audio recording of the escape artist, and more. A truly comprehensive package that is one of the most exciting silent film releases of 2008.

3 x DVD9 | NTSC 4:3 | 450 min. | 21.2 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English Intertitles
Subtitles: none
Genre: Drama, Silent


Houdini: The Movie Star Disc 1

Houdini: The Movie Star Disc 1:

The Master Mystery (Ch. 1 - 13) (1919, 238 min.)
In this action-packed serial, government agent Quentin Locke (Houdini) infiltrates a corrupt patents company, only to run into the gleaming terror of its robot protector, the Automaton. In order to save the beautiful Eva Brent (Marguerite Marsh) and find a cure for the dreaded Madagascar Madness, Locke suffers an inhuman array of tortures and physical restraints.
He is chained, tied with barbed wire, padlocked in a crate and thrown in the water, tied beneath a descending elevator, strapped to an electric chair, and bound in an elaborate Oriental torture chamber.

Written by Arthur B. Reeve (the creator of The Exploits of Elaine), The Master Mystery was a sensational hit throughout the U.S. and Europe and allowed the legendary escape artist to perform his miraculous feats before the eyes of millions.

Portions of The Master Mystery no longer survive today. This Kino edition runs almost four hours, and bridges the missing passages with explanatory text.

Directors: Burton L. King, Harry Grossman
Cast: Harry Houdini, Marguerite Marsh, Charles Graham, Ruth Stonehouse, Edna Britton

Houdini: The Movie Star Disc 2
Houdini: The Movie Star Disc 2:

The Master Mystery (Ch. 14 - 15)

Terror Island (1920, 55 min)
Directed by James Cruze (The Covered Wagon) and produced at Paramount (Famous Players-Lasky), Terror Island was by far Houdini’s most lavish production. In it, he stars as a swashbuckling inventor who steers his high-tech submarine to a forbidden tropical isle to rescue the father of the woman he loves. Only five of seven reels of Terror Island survive today. This Kino edition presents all the existing footage and bridges the gaps with explanatory text.

The Man from Beyond (1922, 68 min)
The flagship effort of Houdini’s independent production company, The Man from Beyond reflects his growing fascination with life after death. Houdini stars as Howard Hillary, a man frozen in the Arctic, who returns to civilization 100 years later to reclaim the love of his life, reincarnated in the body of a young woman. The film boasts a series of thrilling escapes and feats of physical agility, climaxing with an elaborate scene above Niagara Falls.

Directors: James Cruze, Burton L. King, Harry Grossman
Cast: Harry Houdini, Marguerite Marsh, Charles Graham, Ruth Stonehouse, Edna Britton, William Pike, Floyd Buckley, Jack Burns, Lila Lee, Wilton Taylor, Eugene Pallette, Ed Brady, Jack Brammall, Arthur Maude, Albert Tavernier, Erwin Connelly, Frank Montgomery, Luis Alberni

Houdini: The Movie Star Disc 3
Houdini: The Movie Star Disc 3:

Haldane of the Secret Service (1923, 84 min.)
In his final film as an actor, Houdini stars as Heath Haldane, an undercover operative assigned to infiltrate a band of counterfeiters within the dark alleys of New York’s Chinatown. Virtually unseen since its 1923 release, Haldane of the Secret Service has been mastered from a 35mm print with the original color tints.

The Grim Game - FRAGMENT (1919, 5 Min.)
In the only surviving footage of Houdini’s The Grim Game, the cameras captured an unplanned incident: two planes colliding in mid-air. The footage was so spectacular that the script was revised to integrate it into the plot.

Directors: Irvin Willat, Harry Houdini
Cast: Harry Houdini, Gladys Leslie, William Humphrey, Richard Carlyle, Edward Boulden, Jane Jennings, Thomas Jefferson, Augustus Phillips, Tully Marshall, Mae Busch, Ann Forrest

Extras:
- An examination of scenes deleted by the New York Censor Board
- Image galleries
- Detailed film notes
- Correspondence with the NY Censor Board
- Filmed records of Houdini escapes (1907 - 1923)
- The illusion "Metamorphosis", performed by Houdini’s brother Hardeen
- 1914 Audio recording of Houdini introducing his "Water Torture Cell"
- Slippery Jim - 1910 comedy short inspired by Houdini

Related posts:

  1. Amateur Porn Star Killer 2 (2008) 2 x DVD5 Special Edition: the movie version and the snuff version
  2. A Woman of Paris: A Drama of Fate (1923) DVD9
  3. La roue / The Wheel (1923) 2 x DVD9
  4. Klovnen / The Golden Clown (1926), Nedbrudte nerver / The Hill Park Mystery (1923) DVD9
  5. The Ten Commandments (1923, 1956) 3 x DVD9 50th Anniversary Collection