TV review: History Channel's 'Houdini' isn't quite magical

September 1, 2014 7:05 PM

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TV review: History Channel's 'Houdini' isn't quite magical

Harry Houdini was America's first superstar entertainer. The illusionist, whose name is still associated with impossible escapes, achieved worldwide fame before and after the turn of the 20th century by putting himself in death-defying situations — say, handcuffed and shackled, suspended upside-down in a tank of water — and living to tell the tale.

Adrien Brody is impressive as Houdini in the History Channel's two-night biography, and many of his stunts are re-created (and explained) in fascinating detail. But the miniseries, a co-production with Hungary, Houdini's home country, is too slow and too-often hokey to rate a rave.

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