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Houdini Talks Houdini, A Short Film


Houdini Talks ToudiniHOUDINI Talks Houdini

…a new experimental short documentary by Adam Steinfeld

Houdini’s last radio interview, just before his death set on November 1st, 1926. A radio announcer broadcasts a real-life interview, of Houdini, then flashes back on his amazing career.

HOUDINI TALKS HOUDINI is the title of a new exciting experimental micro, short-film showcasing Houdini’s legendary amazing life. It will be released online at midnight on March 24, 2016, which is Houdini’s 142nd birthday. The film is produced, written  and directed, by filmmaker and magician, Adam Steinfeld.

HOUDINI…talks Houdini from Adam Steinfeld on Vimeo.

It is edited in 3 segments. The first segment opens with Houdini’s own words, highlighting his amazing true life adventures. These digital images were released through the New York Public Library.

The film opens with a slick slide presentation including black and white photos of the early 1900’s. The photos have been colorized by Dana Keller and brings Houdini to life in the modern world.

Fight Scene from The Grim Game starring Harry HoudiniWhen modern audiences visualize Houdini it is through fictionalized accounts with Hollywood actors. “This is the real Houdini”, said director Steinfeld. “I’ve made every effort to keep Houdini real as accurately as possible. I have inserted a bit of dramatic licensing; adding sound and a music score for the internet generation, instead of the silent piano film music of that period”.

Part two and Part three of HOUDINI, TALKS HOUDINI showcases real film of Houdini’s spectacular stunts. These were shot on May 7, 1907 and in the spring and summer of 1914 at the Weighlock bridge on Court Street in downtown Rochester, New York. This found footage was made possible through the Library of Congress, and the Eastman Museum.

Houdini Talks HoudiniFilmmaker Adam Steinfeld edited the 100-year-old footage with a dramatic contemporary score and an omnipresent voice-over by Kelly Cordes. Houdini’s voice is by Gergo’ Benedek speaking in English with Hungarian voice characterization to replicate an old radio show.

Steinfeld is also co-author of the novel, Houdini Lives! In this short-film he brings together two of his passions; magic performed live on stage and film-making. This film brings combined artistic, dramatic, and thrilling real life footage. These photos and segments have rarely been combine a compressed look back at the greatest magician, escape artist and dare devil that ever lived.


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“Music from 1920’s doesn’t work in today’s world, says Adam Steinfeld, so I edited a score similar in style to Batman or Superman. After all, many consider Houdini to be America’s first superhero.  When you see the actual real footage in this short, especially the Weighbridge handcuff jump from 1907, I’m sure, you’ll agree. Houdini is certainly, the greatest magician, daredevil, escape artist, and illusionist that ever lived, not to mention the most famous president of the Society of American Magicians.”

Houdini and BessSteinfeld goes on to say, “Houdini is an icon in American history that melds together two of my passions, presenting Magic live on stage and Filmmaking. Enjoy the short. Many of the stills were made possible by the recent release of digital photos on the New York Public Library website, video in public domain at the Library of Congress and a few still photo’s artistically colorized by Dana Keller. This all brings America’s world figure to life, in a short compressed look back. As if yesterday, was today, mixed with a voice narration by Kelly Cordes.


a film by, Adam Steinfeld

producer / director / editor, Adam Steinfeld

Houdini voice characterization: Gergo’ Benedek

Voice artist narration: Kelly Cordes

Houdini 1914 box escape script, from the novel, Houdini Lives!, written by Al Blanchard & Adam Steinfeld

Special Thanks:

colorized by Dana Keller

Dal Sanders and The Magic Compass

The Society of American Magicians

  1. Mark Weidhaas says:

    Thank you for this treat! Houdini Lives!

  2. Steven A. Spence says:

    Wow! Great job. I especially enjoyed the recreation of his voice with the Hungarian accent. It gives a different prospective to the picture I had of Houdini. I also enjoyed seeing the historical footage of his early escapes. They definitely brought him to life for me. This film is a treasure for the S.A.M. to celebrate our heritage.

  3. Strongly disagree about the accent. Houdini on the Edison discs is speaking with a Wisconsin German accent, not “Hungarian.” His household language was German,not Magyar. Many native-born Americans, from the German parts of Wisconsin, speak exactly the same way, even today.

    • Hi David, thanks for your comments, not to worry, I contacted an seasoned voice artist, based in Berlin, who will record this week a new “voice-over”, for my Houdini short, he listened to the Houdini/Edison recordings, and assures me, he can replicate the accent, with more of a focus of a German accent, as you suggested, keep ya posted.

  4. new version of my Houdini short,just finished editng, with new Voice Over, of Houdini with slight German, Mid-Atlantic accent, as a few Houdini enthusiasts suggested.

    • Better, but still not quite. It’s too German and not enough American. Wisconsin Germans can pronounce “th” perfectly, whereas German Germans cannot. Likewise, it’s not “no metter” but “no matter,” with the broad Midwestern “a” – not Mid-Atlantic, but Midwestern. “A” for effort, however!

      • Thanks David, for listening to version 2, I see your point, it’s not an easy task to implement.

        I did take it a step further this week and contacted, a theater group in WI, and a WI pro voice artist, with German background, who said, “he never heard of a Wisconsin/German accent.”

        I’m sure it exists, like you described, but finding the right VO, is not easy.

        If you know, a VO artist with theater background, that can record it properly, please email me, I’ll be happy to send the text.

        A few festival deadlines are soon, I plan to enter, hoping to finish this. Thanks.

        • It’s not easy, you’re right.

          And in Brooklyn they don’t know from a Brooklyn accent, either. “Waddyatalkin’? Fuggedaboudit! Ya hump!”

          The accent is hard to reproduce. I first became aware of it in high school, when my German teacher – a bilingual Wisconsin native of German parentage, just like Houdini – spoke that way, as did one of my best friends, also from the same area. It almost sounds like a speech impediment.

          You might try a linguistics professor at the University of Wisconsin to get some leads. Also, the Wisconsin Historical Society is very on-the-ball.

          • Thanks for suggestions, great ideas, maybe for next Houdini short…for now, I tweaked edit again, it’s sounds more like old radio, it’s not perfect, but it is closer to Edison old radio.
            HERE IS NEW LINK


          • a new Houdini VOICE, is in the works, I’ll post this 4th version, around April 17, this time, from character actor part of, Wisconsin theater group, more Americanized, as you suggested, and staying true to the Edison/Houdini recordings.

            Keep ya all posted.

  5. Isn’t there a recording on the internet of Houdini introducing his Water Torture Cell in a theater? Of course, his voice projection was different in a theater in pre-sound system days than it would have been on a radio microphone, but I am sure I heard it somewhere on the ‘net.

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