A review of "Houdini"

Houdini    TV Movie    (1998)
Director: Pen Densham.
Starring: Stacy Edwards (Bess Houdini), Judy Geeson (Lady Doyle), Rhea Perlman (Esther), Ron Perlman (Booking Agent), Mark Ruffalo (Theo), Johnathon Schaech (Ehrich Weiss/Harry Houdini), George Segal (Beck), Paul Sorvino (Blackburn), David Warner (Sir Doyle), Grace Zabriskie (Mrs. Weiss).
     This is a TV movie covering the career, life and afterlife of the illusionist Harry Houdini.  It is a romanticized skeletal treatment, covering the basics of the man (raised in poverty, self taught magician, life long mother issues, medium debunker) without any real depth or showing anything new.  It is a well done enough production, recreating some of Houdini's daring feats, and the acting is decent (and Schaech certainly looks fit enough to pull off Houdini's escapes and high tolerance for pain) but ultimately it is a frame without a portrait, non revealing of the Ehrich behind the Harry.  
     Favorite Line:  "I fell in love with Ehrich Weiss; I put up with Harry Houdini."
     Worth a rent if you have a mildly curious about Houdini itch to scratch and an hour and a half free. 
     First published in 2004 on The Perlman Pages.

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