5.8/10
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34 user 54 critic

Death Defying Acts (2007)

Trailer
2:24 | Trailer
On a tour of Britain in 1926, Harry Houdini enters into a passionate affair with a psychic out to con the famous magician.

Director:

Gillian Armstrong
5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Guy Pearce ... Harry Houdini
Catherine Zeta-Jones ... Mary McGarvie
Timothy Spall ... Sugarman
Saoirse Ronan ... Benji McGarvie
Malcolm Shields ... Leith Romeo
Leni Harper Leni Harper ... Leith Romeo's wife
Ralph Riach Ralph Riach ... Mr. Robertson
Olivia Darnley ... Flower Stall Seller
Anthony O'Donnell ... Oily Librarian
Billy McColl Billy McColl ... McTavish
James Holmes ... Ugly Mug
Melanie Harris ... Rose (as Frankey Martyn)
Aileen O'Gorman Aileen O'Gorman ... Effie - Elderly Seamstress
Raymond Griffiths Raymond Griffiths ... Music Hall Dwarf
Shaun Mason Shaun Mason ... Heckler
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Storyline

During Harry Houdini's tour of Britain in 1926, the master escapologist enters into a passionate affair with a Scottish psychic. The psychic and her daughter attempt to con Houdini during a highly publicized séance to contact his mother whose death has haunted him for many years. However all does not go to plan... Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Magic Is Inescapable See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some sensuality, thematic material, language, violent content and smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | Australia

Language:

English | Hungarian

Release Date:

13 March 2008 (Australia) See more »

Also Known As:

Death Defying Acts: Houdini's Secret See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,561, 13 July 2008

Gross USA:

$5,665

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,396,245
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Black and White (newsreel footage)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

In the scene before Houdini try to communicate with his passed mother via Mary McGarvie, it can be clearly seen there is a vacuum tube that happened to be a 6C33C Russian vacuum tube, which does not exist until the 60s, and further more, that vacuum tube couldn't work anymore, since it was leaked (it has a white layer of powder inside the tube that shows there is air inside). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Benji McGarvie: [with Scottish accent] When I was very small, I had a gift. I saw things other folk did nae see. It was like looking into deep water and seein' things on the other side. As I grew up, the gift vanished, just like my mam said it would. And I saw the world as it really was - with all its sweet lies and trickery. The great Houdini came into our lives, and changed everything forever.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Lockout (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

The Flowers of Edinburgh
(uncredited)
Traditional
[Played by fiddler in the pub]
See more »

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User Reviews

Disappointingly flat
17 August 2008 | by Gordon-11See all my reviews

This film is about a woman who works as a con artist trying to deceive Harry Houdini into believing that she has psychic powers.

"Death Defying Acts" sounds like an action movie, but the poster looks more like a romantic film. In fact it is neither. It is a slowly unfolding drama about how Mary attempts to con Harry, and how harry falls for her.

As Houdini is the greatest escape artist of all times, a film about him should have been exciting, thrilling and even death defying. However, this film has none of these attributes. The plot is slow, plain and not exciting at all. There is not much tension or drama to captivate me. I do not care about the characters, and whatever relationship they have between them. There is little chemistry between Guy Pearce and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Frankly, I think they are both miscast. Fortunately, Saoirse Ronan is delightful as the psychic sidekick. She is the one who save the film.

"Death Defying Acts" turns out to be a bore. I am quite disappointed by it.


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