|The Grim Game|
Promotional poster for The Grim Game
|Directed by||Irvin Willat|
|Produced by||Jesse L. Lasky|
|Written by||Arthur B. Reeve
|Cinematography||Frank M. Blount|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Release date(s)||August 25, 1919|
|Running time||50 min.|
A gang of men frame Harvey Hanford (Houdini) for murder, and also decide to kidnap his fiancée. Hanford is quickly apprehended by the police and falsely imprisoned for the crime. Shortly after being sent to jail, Hanford escapes and pursues the men who framed him. The film unfolds as a series of Houdini's trademark set-piece stunts and escapes - his tormentors chaining him up and imprisoning him on numerous occasions, only for Hanford to escape. The film concludes with a climactic mid-air collision following an aeroplane pursuit. Following the collision, which Hanford survives, Hanford is reunited with his fiancée.
The famous mid-air plane collision was not scripted. It was a real accident caught on film over the skies of Santa Monica, CA. Stuntman Robert E. Kennedy was doubling Houdini at the time. Miraculously, no one was killed, and the story was rewritten to incorporate the accident. Publicity was geared heavily toward promoting this dramatic "caught on film" moment, claiming it was Houdini himself dangling from the plane.