TV Review: Houdini (2014)


I am yet to understand the logic of fictionalizing historic events or biographies and deceiving the viewers who are under impression that seeing is believing… What would happen if the storyteller speaks the true lines parallel to someone’s life? Won’t the viewers appreciate and fully accept? I wanted to see a biographic docudrama about life of the great Harry Houdini and then, things unexpectedly went wrong…

First let me brief you who he was. Harry Houdini was son of a Rabbi and belonged from a Jewish-immigrant Hungarian family who moved to United States when he was a kid. At a small age, he became a trapeze artist to feed his family. He loved reading and once read French magician Houdini’s autobiography that inspired him to practice magic and changed his real name Erik Weisz to Harry Houdini. Later on he became illusionist and escape artist, saying in terse an entertainer. Houdini was a freemason.

Nicholas Meyer, the writer who famously wrote Star Trek movies, Time After Time and directed Sommersby, wrote ‘Houdini‘. Despite the fact that the miniseries was funded by History Channel, it still was historically the least accurate story about Houdini crossing most of the limit.


Neither there is any evidence that Houdini got trapped in a frozen river nor did he get fame by escaping from jail. He never grew up or bought a large home in Brooklyn, nor did he work with a magician when he was a kid. Houdini’s secret-keeper Jim Collins was never American from Georgia but English and Houdini never played a bullet-catching act in his prime and never in a private performance for last German Emperor, Wilhelm II.

Houdini’s bondage sex with British painter Elizabeth Thompson (well-known as Lady Butler) is one of most bizarre plot to establish. Forget this ding-dong, there is no indication if they ever met. Houdini’s wife never took promise from her husband to give up escapes. In contrary, she was his biggest admirer and supporter of his work. His interest in spiritualism came in last phase of his life, the truth is that he was interested from the start of his magic career.

There is no evidence that Mina Crandon (Miss Margery) ever seduced Houdini or in his hotel room. He never offered punches on stomach, his first recorded punch was in his last year during a lecture at MacGill university. He never collapsed at stage during his final performance before rushing towards hospital. In fact he completed the show and came back hotel.


Wanna know worse than that? At your own risk! This is the biggest technical mistake of the whole miniseries when it comes to historical timeline accuracy by the way. There is a 1903 scene where Houdini is invited by Russian Royal family to present a private performance. One of the wish is to make the Kremlin Bells ring which he does. Among the attendees is the mad monk, Rasputin.

If the reader carefully read these last few Russian scenes and if he/she has some knowledge of Russian history, then the reader will understand that the makers come up with one of the biggest blunders; 

1. Rasputin never met the Russian royal family  i.e. the Romanovs in 1903. It was November, 1905 when Princess Milica of Montenegro presented Rasputin to Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.

2. Kremlin Clock is on Spasskaya Tower in Moscow. Moscow? Under the Russian Empire, St. Petersburg was the capital from 1730 till 1917. How come Houdini performed in front of the Romanovs in Moscow instead of St. Petersburg?

I would hugely recommend Houdini fans and those who would like to dig his life to better log on to or

If the viewers would like to watch Houdini leaving the historical accuracy behind, then the plus is Adrien Brody‘s central role of Houdini. Adrien has every right to receive full-marks appreciation as his selection was the biggest trump card the makers played. Like Houdini, Adrien also is Jew, Hungarian from mother’s side, not born but grew and lived in United States. If that is not enough then like Houdini, Adrien Brody also performed magic tricks at young age. That is the reason, Adrien performed most of the tricks in the series on his own. Kristen Connolly as Houdini’s wife has done a terrific job.

To sum up and try to end this post in a better way, I would like to raise one question to the makers of Houdini. Please tell me just pleeeeaaassseeeeee tell me I beg you; in the series, how come Houdini’s eyes were brown at childhood and green when he was adult??? :’S

Ratings: 4/10

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