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Houdini: The Movie Star (Three-Disc Collection) (2008)

Harry Houdini  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Harry Houdini
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Kino Lorber films
  • DVD Release Date: April 8, 2008
  • Run Time: 450 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0012OSGJK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #191,047 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Houdini: The Movie Star (Three-Disc Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Filmed records of Houdini escapes
  • Audio recording of Houdini speaking
  • Excerpts from the NY Censor Board files
  • The illusion "Metamorphosis" performed by Houdini's brother Hardeen
  • Multiple Image Galleries
  • New film notes

Editorial Reviews

By the year 1919, Harry Houdini was known throughout the world as a master magician and escape artist. Having conquered the stage, he set out to rule the screen, appearing in a series of thrillers built upon his almost supernatural powers. Culled from film archives and private collections, this Kino DVD set includes all of Houdini s suriving films as an actor, rare footage of actual handcuff and straitjacket escapes, and a wealth of historical information. Includes: THE MASTER MYSTERY (1919, 238m, Color Tinted) TERROR ISLAND (1920, 55m, B&W) THE MAN FROM BEYOND (1922, 68m, Color Tinted) HALDANE OF THE SECRET SERVICE (1923, 84m, Color Tinted) THE GRIM GAME (Fragment, 1919, 5m, Color Tinted) - SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE: Filmed records of Houdini escapes (ca. 1907-23) - Audio recording of Houdini speaking (1914) - Excerpts from the NY Censor Board files - Slippery Jim, a 1910 Houdini-inspired comedy - The illusion Metamorphosis performed by Houdini s brother Hardeen and others.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Collection of Houdini Film, And a Challenge! September 22, 2008
Everyone who is interested in Houdini, even casually, should buy this three DVD set of extremely rare footage of the great star. It is a wonderful set. To those interested in early cinema, the silent screen, vaudeville, sci-fi/fantasy, and superheroes this set is invaluable. Now, I want to talk about something which is very important to me. There has never been a collection of Houdini film footage before. KINO has created a beautiful product in "Houdini, the Movie Star." In doing so, they call our attention to footage that is missing. That is what I want to discuss.
In the KINO set, there is a great deal of footage I've never seen before, and this is Houdini's Ghost speaking. One bit of film shows Houdini running through a park in Paris. Two pairs of handcuffs are locked on his wrists. He stops at the wall outside the Paris morgue, strips off his clothes to his boxer trunks, then climbs a gate and stands atop of the wall of the morgue. Then he jumps into the river Seine.
He surfaces a couple of times before he frees himself from the cuffs, then, he swims to the opposite shore where men are waiting for him. They throw a coat over his shoulders and hustle him into a car which drives away, pursued by four French policemen who look very much like Keystone cops.
Here's the point: in 1909, Houdini starred in a 10 minute Pathe short. I have never seen the opening sequence, but some private collectors do have it and I have been told that Houdini is seen on a street in Paris. He observes a Parisian policeman arresting a drunk. Houdini protests the treatment of the drunk and is arrested himself. The next segment I have seen. Houdini is taken inside the police station and tied to a chair.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True Manna from DVD Heaven January 21, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
When I was a kid in the late 50s, Houdini was still THE man. Escape artist, illusionist and master magician, Harry Houdini fired our youthful imaginations almost as no other - even though we had almost never seen him except in faded stills or old newsreels. We certainly never heard him speak, but had only read avidly about his past exploits.

Now, Kino International is giving Houdini back to his legions of devoted fans by releasing a three-DVD set that includes ALL of the surviving silent movie films of "Houdini - the actor," as well as footage of escapes and an audio clip of the master's voice!

More than mere entertainment, this wonderful collection is truly an historical presentation of Houdini's film career.

By 1919, Houdini was known internationally as an unparalleled master magician. Having conquered the stage, he set out to do the same thing to the "new" medium of the day - the movie. Houdini appeared in a series of thrillers built upon his almost supernatural powers, which he performed the majority of the stunts himself in all of his films.

This incredible boxed set represents the first time that these images (except for "The Man from Beyond") have ever been released on DVD, and may very well be the first time a lot of fans have seen these wonderful productions in more than 75 years!!

Kino International culled everything it could find from film archives and private collections to gather and remaster this amazing material. It includes all of Houdini's surviving silent films as an actor, rare footage of actual handcuff and straitjacket escapes, as well as a wealth of historical information. It also includes a serial in which may have been the first-ever robot on screen to be a threat.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For Houdini Nuts Only June 5, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This DVD set falls under the "I did not know it still existed" category. I am a Houdini Nut and I had to see what I thought was gone forever. Well, it almost should be. What has survived and re released is in pretty bad shape. Most of one serial, a late movie Houdini pieced together and a few newsreel shots of his actual escapes. And a French cartoon so unrelated as to be absurd. The newsreel bits of upside down straight jacket escapes sort of redeem it. A 2 DVD set might be be a better concept. Maybe one? This is not for light entertainment. Serious students only.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Houdini Returns...On DVD. April 9, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Kino's new set HOUDINI: THE MOVIE STAR is a three disc collection of just about everything that Houdini did which still survives. HH made 5 films over a 5 year period (1919-1923). His first effort THE MASTER MYSTERY is a serial which survives mostly intact. It's also a rare opportunity to see Mae Marsh's older sister Marguerite in action and she's pretty good given the material.

Of the other four only his last effort HALDANE OF THE SECRET SERVICE is fully complete. 1919's THE GRIM GAME has only about 5 minutes but it contains an actual midair collision which was left in the film. THE MAN FROM BEYOND is Houdini's best known film and the 16mm copy here is much better than any of the previous video incarnations. The story of a man revived after being frozen for 100 years has been reworked many times and is never less than fascinating. The highlight of the collection is TERROR ISLAND. Although missing reels 3 and 4 it has the advantage of high production values (it was made at Paramount), a quality director in James Cruze (THE COVERED WAGON), and a cast of strong supporting players led by Eugene Pallette (he was Friar Tuck in Errol Flynn's ROBIN HOOD) whose career stretched into the 1940s.

The set comes with lots of extras including actual clips of Houdini performing and an audio recording of him advertising his act from 1914. As a performer Houdini was charismatic but his films suffer from the same plots and stunts used over and over again. If you've seen one, you've seen em' all. Nevertheless this is a valuable piece of celluloid history and is certainly worth having for the discriminating collector or silent film lover. Just don't expect something "magical".
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars There's no escape
There's no escape that Houdini couldn't pull off. Well, at least in these films there were none. I purchased the set for two reasons. The films were done by B. A. Read more
Published 5 months ago by R. J. LHerault
3.0 out of 5 stars Houdini The Movie Star
Houdini The Movie Star

It is a silent movie and it is very slow to watch. It is also made in segments as in the old Saturday afternoon serials. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Robert E. Simpson
4.0 out of 5 stars Probably the greatest escape artist the world has seen
This set of Houdini is a great surprise showing many of his escapes and also shows several of his movies these films are from the days of silent movies but are still well worth... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Jim Shaw
4.0 out of 5 stars Thrilling to See Houdini on Screen!
How exciting to see the legendary Harry Houdini on camera! He was much more handsome on film than in his still photos and the movie demonstrated how fit and energetic he was. Read more
Published 11 months ago by ODuchess
4.0 out of 5 stars Marvelous collection
The surviving record of Houdini's dogged effort to become a matinee idol. Includes THE MASTER MYSTERY (1919), an entertaining incoherent serial with the first movie robot, plus... Read more
Published on April 22, 2011 by Raymond Owen
5.0 out of 5 stars For Silent Film Fans and Houdini
As a person interested in Houdini and silent films, I found this DVD of interest. They did a great job of editing all the silent films available into one DVD Set. Read more
Published on January 25, 2011 by Franklin D. Rucker
4.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing films but a fine collection
Harry Houdini never really got away with the movie career he craved, but not for want of trying. That it was more chequered than his stage one was due to a combination of... Read more
Published on December 19, 2010 by Trevor Willsmer
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST for all Houdini fans
Don't believe the Houdini biographies that say the movies are trash. I don't believe any of those authors ever saw the films, but now we can! Read more
Published on November 15, 2009 by Love books and movies
5.0 out of 5 stars A dream come true
This amazing collection is a dream come true for the Houdini buff. The set includes four of the five silent films Houdini made between 1918 and 1923, and fragment from the still... Read more
Published on February 28, 2009 by John Cox
5.0 out of 5 stars Houdini
I bought this for my husband as he is a Houdini fan. He loved it!! If you like Houdini, you will love this!
Published on June 21, 2008 by Heather Cattanach
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