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The Master
Mystery

(1918-1919)

 

Famous illusionist Harry Houdini is the action star in his first dramatic motion picture appearance. Full of campy serial action devices before they became 1930s clichés — including a hilarious robot named Q the Automaton — The Master Mystery is also spiced with a number of real Houdini escapes.

The serial stars Harry Houdini, Marguerite Marsh, Ruth Stonehouse and Charles E. Graham.

coverKino International
2008 DVD edition

Houdini: The Movie Star (1918-1923), black & white, color-toned black & white, color-tinted and color-toned black & white, 450 minutes total, not rated,
including The Master Mystery (1918-1919), color-toned black & white and black & white, 238 minutes, not rated.

Kino International, K563, UPC 7-38329-05632-2.
Full-frame 4:3 NTSC, three single-sided, dual-layered DVD discs, Region 0, ? Mbps average video bit rate, ? kbps audio bit rate, Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo sound, English language intertitles, no foreign language subtitles, 15 chapter stops, three slimline DVD keepcases in cardboard slipcase, $39.95.
Release date: 8 April 2008.
Country of origin: USA

This edition of the serial The Master Mystery (1918-1919) has been mastered from an incomplete but reconstructed version, assembled from 35mm footage with 16mm reduction print inserts, once held by Douris UK Ltd. (now held by the Cohen Media Group), largely toned to a brownish sepia. Image detail is very-good in the full-frame video transfer.

The film is accompanied by a piano music score performed by Stuart Oderman.

Also included in the collection is the surviving 35mm footage from The Grim Game (1919) held by George Eastman Museum (5 minutes); Terror Island (1920) from an excellent but incomplete 35mm print (missing reels three and four) held by the Library of Congress; the best available edition (of several) of The Man From Beyond (1922), having been mastered from the Library of Congress preservation version prepared from surviving 16mm print materials; and Haldane of the Secret Service (1923) from a very-good 35mm print held by Cinema Arts. The supplemental material includes documentary footage of Houdini escapes (circa 1907 through 1923), an audio recording of Houdini introducing his “Water Torture Cell” (1914), Slippery Jim (1910) a Houdini-inspired comedy, an examination of film scenes censored by the New York State Censor Board with correspondence, Houdini’s illusion “Metamorphosis” performed by Houdini’s brother Hardeen (4 minutes), image galleries, and film notes.

 
USA: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.com. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
 
Canada: Click the logomark to purchase this Region 0 NTSC DVD edition from Amazon.ca. Your purchase supports the Silent Era website.
Other HARRY HOUDINI films available on home video.

Other SERIAL FILMS of the silent era available on home video.

Other SCIENCE FICTION and FANTASY FILMS of the silent era available on home video.
 
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