MAN FROM BEYOND, THE (director: Burton King; screenwriters: from a story by Harry Houdini/Coolidge Streeter; cinematographers: Louis Dunmyre/Harry Fischbeck/L.D. Littlefield/Alexander G. Penrod/Irving B. Ruby/Frank Zucker; cast: Harry Houdini (Howard Hillary/The Man From Beyond), Arthur Maude (Dr. Gilbert Trent), Albert Tavernier (Dr. Crawford Strange), Erwin Connelly (Dr. Gregory Sinclair), Frank Montgomery (François Duval), Jane Connelly (Felice Strange/Felice Norcross), Nita Naldi (Marie Le Grande); Runtime: 64; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Harry Houdini; Grapevine Video; 1922-silent)
“It was interesting only because the great escape artist Houdini was the star.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Harry Houdini is the producer, author and star of this fantasy adventure story. He plays Howard Hillary, a man who has been frozen in an Arctic block of ice in 1820 and is rescued in 1922 by an expedition led by Dr. Gregory Sinclair (Erwin Connelly). Howard is thawed out and found to be miraculously alive. Dr. Sinclair brings him back home to secretly study him for science.
When Dr. Sinclair takes Howard to a wedding between Dr. Trent and Felice Norcross (Jane Connelly), the Man From Beyond believes that Felice is the reincarnation of his lost love and attempts to break up the marriage. Dr. Trent has Howard arrested and sent to an insane asylum, where Houdini easily escapes from despite being in a straitjacket. The superficial melodrama revolves around Howard making the connection between the current Felice and the one he courted some 100 years ago. The most memorable scene was of Houdini’s near-plunge over Niagara Falls.
The film tries to explain the truth about reincarnation as a development of souls that was believed by great thinkers from Zoroaster to Moses to Christ. It was interesting only because the great escape artist Houdini was the star, otherwise it is not worth seeing.
REVIEWED ON 10/7/2004 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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