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  Harry Houdini and Nita Naldi.
Photograph: Silent Era image collection.
The Man from Beyond
Also known as L’homme de l’au-delà in France
(1922) American
B&W : Seven reels
Directed by Burton L. King

Cast: Harry Houdini [Howard Hillary], Jane Connelly [Felice Strange; and Felice Norcross], Arthur Maude [Doctor Gilbert Trent], Erwin Connelly [Doctor Gregory Sinclair], Frank Montgomery [Francois Duval], Nita Naldi [Marie Le Grande], Albert Tavernier [Professor Crawford Strange], Luis Alberni [captain of the Barkentine], Yale Benner [Milt Norcross, Felice’s father], [?] ? [Wilson, Strange’s butler], [?] ? [Tony, the chauffeur], Bob Rose [Houdini’s stunt double]

Houdini Pictures Corporation production; distributed on State Rights basis by [?] Houdini Pictures Corporation? / Scenario by Coolidge Streeter, from a screen story by Harry Houdini. Cinematography by Louis Dunmyre, Harry A. Fischbeck, L.D. Littlefield, Alexander G. Penrod, Irving B. Ruby and Frank Zucker. / Released [?] 2 April or 20 August? 1922. / Standard 35mm spherical 1.33:1 format. / The film was released in Finland on 21 September 1924.

Drama: Mystery.

Synopsis: In the bitter Arctic, two men — Doctor Gregory Sinclair and mercenary Francois Duval — are all that remain of an ill-fated scientific expedition when they discover an old ship frozen in the ice. Seeking food and shelter, on the ship they discover a man frozen in ice since 1820. Removed and warmed, the man miraculously is discovered to be alive — having been held in suspended animation throughout the intervening years. In his dim, waking thoughts he relives the last days of his life before freezing. Hopelessly in love with fellow passenger Felice Norcross, Howard Hillary braved the terrible sea storm that wrecked their ship in an attempt to save the life of her father. Now conscious, Hillary is understandably confused and lost when he is brought back to a civilization one hundred years more advanced than the one he knew. At the home of Professor Crawford Strange, Sinclair’s niece Felice is being married to Doctor Gilbert Trent. Struck by her uncanny resemblance to his love, and not fully cognisant of his current reality, Hillary appeals to Felice for some sign of recognition. Her fiancé wastes no time in having Hillary arrested and committed for insanity. A treacherous deception by Trent is uncovered and Felice calls off the wedding to search for her missing father, who has been lost for a year. When she seeks to enlist the aid of Hillary, it is discovered that he has escaped the asylum. Meanwhile, Trent is scheming to discover the truth of Hillary’s secret and recover his bride, and Hillary makes his own way back to Felice, only to be devastated by the realization that he is one hundred years too late to save his love. But a premonition of the possibility of reincarnation, and the renewal of their interrupted love, causes Hillary to to dedicate himself to Felice’s search for her father. Called to his laboratory and in the presence of the police, Felice and Sinclair, Trent accuses Hillary of the murder of Professor Strange. As his proof, Trent produces Duval, who lies about Hillary’s involvement and turns over some of Strange’s personal effects to the police. Duval eventually comes clean about the conspiracy between Trent and Marie Le Grande to frame Hillary for Strange’s murder, and Trent kidnaps Felice before Hillary and the police can apprehend him. In Trent’s home Hillary discovers the secret access to his laboratory, where the captive Professor Strange is discovered. Planning to drug Felice and force her to marry him, Trent is stopped by Hillary. Felice escapes, chased by Trent’s chauffeur, while Hillary and Trent battle each other. Chased to the banks of the Niagara River, Felice employs a canoe to escape. Followed into the river by Hillary, who forsees her peril, Felice is soon caught by the currents of the Niagara toward the great falls. Braving the rapid river, Hillary catches the canoe and brings Felice ashore before the falls can claim her life. When all is settled, Hillary examines the spiritualist theories of Arthur Conan Doyle in his pursuit of a reincarnation explanation for their unusual love.

Survival status: Prints exist in the Library of Congress film archive; in the film holdings of EmGee Film Library [16mm reduction positive]; and in private film collections [16mm reduction positives].

Current rights holder: Public domain.

Keywords: Animals: Dogs - Deception - Drugs - Ice - Laboratories - Law: Enforcement: Police: Policemen - Mice - Niagara Falls - Reincarnation - Rescues - Ships (Sailing) - USA: New York: Buffalo - Weddings

Listing updated: 16 October 2011.

References: Film viewing : Lahue-Gentlemen pp. 135-136; Limbacher-Feature p. 151; Sherwood-Best p. 176 : Website-IMDb.

Home video: DVD.

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