THE MAN FROM BEYOND
Starring Harry Houdini
NEW YORK TIMES
April 17, 1922
Houdini fighting the rapids of what is said to be and certainly looks like Niagara River, Houdini climbing the outside wall of a building, Houdini releasing himself from binding cords and sheets, Houdini struggling with another man on the edge of a precipice - such things provide what interesting stuff there is in "The Man From Beyond," which opened at the Times Square Theatre last Sunday evening.
It is a stunt picture, but the trouble is it is not all stunts. It tries to be a dramatic composition and doesn't succeed. It starts out promisingly, though, with the assumption that a man incased in a cake of ice for a hundred years may be resuscitated and brought back from the Arctic to civilization to find his sweetheart of a century ago reincarnated in a girl of identical appearance. Many things might be done with this fantastic conception.
But none of them is done in "The Man From Beyond." Mr. Houdini's imagination seems to have run out at the inception of his idea. For the photoplay almost immediately drops into conventional melodrama, and except for the isolated stunts, follows a well-worn course to a customary ending. And, although its photography is good, it shows practically no acting at all. Its players merely register certain stereotyped expressions.
Mr. Houdini also appears in person to perform in his usual manner. He causes a girl and an elephant to disappear and gets out of a straitjacket. He also appears to swallow four packages of needles, several yards of thread and a drink of water, after which the thread is pulled out of his mouth with the needles strung on it. This trick is mystifying.
THE MAN FROM BEYOND
Starring Harry Houdini
April 15, 1922
A truly remarkable picture, and one that is a genuine "thriller"; it is entirely different from any production heretofore attempted. The story is built on Mr. Houdini's - Mr. Houdini is the author - belief in re-incarnation: --
An Alaskan scientist makes the ghastly discovery of a man's body entombed in a solid slab of ice on a wrecked ship. The ship's log shows that the wreck had taken place a hundred years previous, the supposition being that the man's body has been thus refrigerated for a century. The body is finally hewed out of its icy prison. The life-like aspect of the man's skin causes the explorer to attempt artificial respiration, the man's complete resuscitation resulting. Unaware of the passage of time, the man's mind quickly reverts to the horrifying incidents of the wreck, occurring just prior to the fatal ice encasement. The scientist decides to take back to civilization this man with his weird story, as the marvel of the ages. The day they arrive home, the wedding of the scientist's niece, the heroine, is about to take place. Because of the striking resemblance, the hero believes this girl to be his sweetheart, a passenger on the ill-fated expeditionary ship. Subsequent happenings show that the heroine was being tricked into the marriage by a knavish doctor, who had held captive in a cellar for over a year the heroine's father, an Arctic explorer not believed to have returned. The hero is sent to an insane-asylum, but soon makes his escape. The strange attraction that had existed from the beginning between the hero and the heroine later ripens into love.
In "The Man from Beyond," Mr. Houdini does one particular dare-devil stunt, which, for sheer cast-iron nerve eclipses anything ever shown on the screen; Mr. Houdini is actually swirled and hurtled through the Niagara rapids in a frenzied but victorious attempt to save the heroine, alone and paddleless in a shell-like canoe, from being swept over Niagara Falls. Make no mistake about this - Mr. Houdini, himself, really does it.
Mr. Houdini is so well-known as a matchless public entertainer that his picture, fascinating because of its uncanny, supernatural atmosphere, should give one hundred per cent satisfaction wherever it is shown.
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For more information, see "The Man From Beyond" as our "Feature of the Month"
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