(director/writer: Irvin Willat; screenwriters: story by Artur Reeve and John Grey/Walter Woods; cinematographer: J. O. Taylor/Frank Blount; cast: Houdini (Harvey Hanford), Thomas Jefferson (Dudley Cameron), Ann Forrest (Mary Cameron), Augustus Phillips (Clifton Allison), Arthur Hoyt (Dr. Harvey Tyson), Tully Marshall (Richard Raver), Mac Busch (Ethel Delmead); Runtime: 71; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Jesse Lasky; Paramount Pictures; 1919-silent)

You might find this a satisfying curio.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Irvin Willat (“The False Faces”/”The Luck of Roaring Camp”/”Damaged Love”) directs as if the plot is an after-thought.. It’s based on a story by Artur Reeve and John Grey. The screeenplay is by Walter Woods.

Harvey Hanford (Harry Houdini) is a young reporter in love with Mary Cameron (Ann Forrest). The wealthy uncle of Mary’s (Thomas Jefferson) opposes the marriage of his ward. Harvey schemes to fake the murder of her uncle to make a point about circumstantial evidence. It backfires when uncle turns up dead and Harry is charged with the murder. The highlight of the film is watching a number of escapes from tight spots by Houdini despite handcuffs, a chain and a straight-jacket. Harvey must escape to save Mary from the killer. There’s even an airplane collision in flight. Of course, Harvey is heroic. He’s vindicated and marries his gal.

I can’t say the film did anything for me, but if you’re curious in catching the famed escape artist in action you might find this a satisfying curio.

REVIEWED ON 12/31/2015 GRADE: C+