Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Man From Beyond|
Actors: Luis Alberni, Erwin Connelly, Harry Houdini, Frank Montgomery, Nita Naldi
Director: Burton King
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This is the complete film (it was never a serial)
John Cox | Studio City, CA | 11/25/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'd like to respectfully correct the reviewer who complained that this film is a truncated version of a serial. I'm afraid the reviewer is confusing this film with The Master Mystery, which was Houdini's first film and his only serial. The Master Mystery was released on VHS in the '90s--but even that was not a complete version (which has yet to be discovered).
This film, The Man From Beyond, was indeed a feature film and the print on this release is the complete movie (although it is missing the original title card). As to quality...unfortunately, without major restoration, this print is as good gets.
As to the film itself...it's a pity this is the only Houdini movie out on DVD, because it is not really one of the better ones. Being the first film Houdini produced himself, it's filled with his obsessions about life after death, etc (he even slips his birthday in here--try to spot it), but it only features one escape. His earlier films, while not being masterpieces, feature many of the escapes that we've come to associate with Houdini.
I would love to see Alpha release The Master Mystery (the serial), which is my favorite of all Houdini's movies."
Interesting film, interesting star
Barbara (Burkowsky) Underwood | Manly, NSW Australia | 09/25/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Most people are familiar with the name Harry Houdini, and immediately think of him as one of the greatest magicians or escape artists, perhaps in the way he was portrayed in the 1953 movie starring Tony Curtis. But most people might be surprised to learn that he was also involved in films in the 1920s, acting in 6 films and also having a try at directing, producing and writing. "The Man From Beyond" is the film he wrote himself and starred in, and the theme fits perfectly to the subject he was also famed for, namely spirituality and the quest to find the answers as to whether there is life after death. In "The Man From Beyond", as the title implies, Houdini plays a man frozen in time for 100 years in the Arctic until a couple of survivors from a 1922 expedition find him inside a block of ice, free him and revive him back to life. The only thing he remembers, however, is his love for Felice and his last memories of her before he was frozen in suspended animation, as it were. The plot is very busy and fast-moving, and in just 60 minutes Houdini finds a modern-day Felice whom he believes is a reincarnation of his lost love, then finds himself in a strait-jacket in a padded cell (from which he easily escapes, of course) helps solve the mystery of Felice's missing father and catches the criminal who is really responsible. In some short but good action scenes Houdini demonstrates some of his physical strength and skills, and they are somewhat reminiscent of early Douglas Fairbanks Sr's films, but may still be disappointing to anyone expecting to see a legendary magician/escape artist in action. Also slightly disappointing are other aspects of the film, such as picture quality on this DVD being a little poor and too light at times, and the flow of the film in general being a bit jerky at times (due to a few missing frames here and there), but the piano accompaniment is very good, and the story itself not too bad either, although one has to pay close attention to keep up with it. No doubt "The Man From Beyond" was popular in its time due to the fame of its star, (and perhaps also the short appearance of actress Nita Naldi, famed for her roles as a vamp or a woman of questionable reputation, which she plays in this film too) and maybe Houdini found immortality after all, since his name is still remembered many decades later today, and here is a chance to see the man himself in his own film!
Charisma Outweighs Clunky
B. Urish | East Lansing, MI United States | 09/26/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Edit: I had previously mistakenly identified this as a feature edit of a serial.
The print quality is watchable, but rather poor, just what you might expect from this budget company (Alpha). This is not a restored or digitally improved print by any means.
Houdini has a lot of charisma and is obviously doing MOST of the action work himself. He's fun to watch, but ultimately, if you are someone who wants to see this at all, you'd probably prefer to see a better print, if one exists.
Assuming we have most of the film here, the pacing/editing is clunky and the acting style is more like 1908 than 1922. OK, I'm exaggerating....somewhat.
Still, Houdini is worth it in the long run, for curiosity's sake if nothing else. Hopefully, better prints of his surviving film work will make it to DVD."