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Category:    Home > Reviews > Biopic > Illusionist > Stunts > Magician > Houdini (1953/Legend DVD/Paramount)

Houdini (1953/Legend DVD/Paramount)

 

Picture: C+†††† Sound: C†††† Extras: C-†††† Film: C+

 

 

Before everything went down hill and the dream Hollywood marriage of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh was a big off-camera item, they teamed up with Director George Marshall (The Blue Dahlia, How The West Was Won) for a biopic of the great illusionist Harry Houdini simply entitled Houdini in 1953 for Paramount.Legend Films has finally issued it on DVD.

 

Curtis is good as the title character, who one day meets a young lady (Leigh) who he falls for and pursues.It is not a cute-meet, but they eventually (surprise) fall for each other and are soon on tour together.She meets him before he becomes a big star and grow closer as they rise together on his success.More fiction and biopic formula than fact, but their performances are good and the supporting cast (including Ian Wolfe, Sig Ruman and Michael Pate) makes this very watchable, if not the definitive examination of the man.Writer Philip Yordan would go on to write films like Johnny Guitar, The Big Combo, Conquest Of Space, El Cid, Day Of The Triffids, 55 Days In Peking, Fall Of The Roman Empire, Circus World and Battle Of The Bulge.

 

The 1.33 X 1 image is a little soft, but colorful, consistent and the print is in decent shape.This was originally produced in three-strip dye-transfer Technicolor and lensed by the great Ernest Laszlo, A.S.C., ††††† who was as good at monochrome (Stalag 17, Road To Rio) as he was in color (Vera Cruz, Fantastic Voyage, Loganís Run) delivers some of his best color work here.The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono is more of a problem, a few generations down and slightly compressed.An original theatrical trailer is the only extra.

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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