The story of master magician Harry Houdini is such a remarkable and dramatic one that I’m surprised there are not more films and TV shows about him. Tony Curtis famously played the magician in the highly fictionalized 1953 film of his life, and now Adrien Brody is following that act by putting on the strait-jacket and climbing into the water-tank for Houdini, a new two-part miniseries from the History Channel.
Houdini purports to follow the life of the brilliant magician, elucidating both his personal experiences and his very public persona. This was a man who set out to disprove spiritualists, perform ever more remarkable feats of human endurance and skill, and interacted with the likes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Rasputin.
In the first trailer for Houdini, Adrien Brody certainly looks the part: his wild hair and lanky but muscular physicality seem well in tune with Houdini’s; he looks like a man who can escape from anything. Kristen Connolly is also on hand as Houdini’s assistant and then wife Bess. While the trailer mostly focuses on Houdini’s stage show, there is a hint of the famous debunker of “real” magic, as well as the personal tribulations of a man whose only opponent was death.
While the History Channel is not always dependable for historical accuracy, this miniseries looks like a lot of fun. A strong cast, with Brody front and center, is always important to the success of something like this, and hopefully the script is worthy of them. I am certainly willing to give the series the benefit of the doubt, as the trailer makes it appear like a pretty strong rendering of an exciting life.
Houdini will make his escape in two parts on September 1 and 2, at 9/8c on the History Channel. You can check out the first trailer below.