History Channel's Houdini : A Television Illusion
"Illusions Michael, a trick is something a whore does for money" - Gob Bluth
So my husband and I gave up on cable almost a year ago, we rely solely on our Roku3 and movies. When we saw that Netflix had History’s Houdini “biopic” my husband pounced, and it was a good call. Adrian Brody stars in this miniseries chronicling the life of Ehrich Weiss aka Harry Houdini, along side Kristen Connolly as Bess Houdini, and Evan Jones as Jim Collins.
Now I did quite a bit of research of others reviews on this mini series, and it wasn’t what I expected. A lot of people seemed to really dislike it, and they had good reasons. What was advertised as a biopic seemed to really toy with the truth. For instance Houdini never actually got trapped under the ice of a frozen river.
“Even though Houdini himself told this story, it’s now considered to be a fiction. There is no supporting evidence for it ever having happened, such as a newspaper account, and Houdini tended to change the location and details, as if to misdirect . The location most often cited is the Belle Isle Bridge in Detroit on November 27, 1906. But newspaper accounts of Houdini’s bridge jump that day make no mention of a frozen river.”(“Trapped under the Ice with Houdini”)
Though in Part 2 of the series they did finally try to get a few things accurate. Houdini did actually make the Elephant vanish, though in a slightly different way that’s still freaking impressive.
“One of Houdini’s most famous illusions was his vanishing elephant. Houdini introduced he effect as part of the Cheer Up review at the New York Hippodrome in 1918. He later revived it with a smaller elephant for live appearances at the Time Square Theater, to promote hi film, The Man from Beyond.”(“The vanishing Vanishing Elephant”)
Complex review of the series seemed to take it very seriously. They called it a “parlor trick” which is I’m sure the irony they were looking for.
Despite it's hater/skeptics I enjoyed the mini series, and its because I didn’t know it was a biopic before. Though I wont claim to know a ton about Houdini to begin with I actually thought it was very interesting that they portrayed Houdini as a spy, it made he seem so much cooler, if it was possible. And even though its not true, it lent to great TV!
So in putting aside the critics and thinking of it as an adaptation with a more glitzy feel, this is a really good mini series. Adrian Brody did pretty great as Houdini (though my husband complained he was too skinny), he was actually a magician when he was younger as well so it was pretty fitting. And while I did think his wife was portrayed as a pretty big nag, Kristen Connolly was fun to watch along side him.
My point here today was to entice you to watch this series; without giving too much away hopefully. Whoever thought Houdini would still be pretty rad in the 21st century?