Man From Beyond, The

965.THE MAN FROM BEYOND (1922-USA). Written, produced by, and starring HARRY HOUÂDINI, with NITA NALDI. Houdini was the world’s greatest illusionist and escape artist, and he was very much interested in the subject of life after death. Houdini chose the title of this film alluding to his all-consuming passion. (He wanted very much to believe in the hereafter, even arranging with his wife to hold yearly sŽances after his death to try to contact him.)
This story then, in a small way, was an attempt by the world famous magician to explore the possibility of suspended animation. The film’s hero is transported 100 years into his future to awake into a kind of “life in the beyond”. The film begins with two half frozen and lost arctic explorers coming upon a derelict ship held fast in the ice near the Pole. On the deck of the ship they come upon “A gruesome sigh!Ó This figure stark and stiffÑits features frozen in a snarl of hate”. Howard Hillary (Houdini) is thawed out, brought back to life and returned to civilization.
Taken to the home of Dr. Sinclair, who plans to gradually introduce Hillary to life 100 years after his ÔdeathÕ, Hillary is shocked when he encounters the wedding ceremony of Sinclair’s niece. Crying out, “Felice, FelÂice!” he sees his love of 100 years before about to be married to the evil Dr. Trent. How could his fiancŽe from 100 years in the past be standing before him? She too seems strangely fascinated with “the man from beyond”. Trent causes Hillary to be arrested and placed in an insane asylumÑconfined in a straight jacket! Imagine trying to confine Harry Houdini in a straight jacket!
After considerable melodramatic plot development involving the girl’s missing father who is being held prisÂoner in the basement by Dr. Trent, and the discovery that Hillary’s new love is the great granddaughter of the sister of his original love, Hillary is accused of murder. The girl is kidnapped and hidden under the rear seat of a Model T, and last but not leastÑa spectacular chase and rescue takes place on the river above Niagara Falls! In the tradition of the ice floe scenes in “Way Down East”, the finale creates truly pulse-pounding exÂcitement as Houdini battles the currents above the Falls to rescue the girl in her runaway canoe. Just the kind of hair-raising stunt for which Houdini was noted! Don’t miss this climax!
Houdini’s theories of reincarnation are woven throughout the drama. The happy ending concludes, “The great teachers of the EarthÑZoroaster down to Moses and ChristÑthose who have made civilization possible- have taught the immortality and progression of the soul.” Silent film with music score, correct projection speed. 91 minutes. ÒSilentÓ Drama