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Death Defying Acts (2007)

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clip Mary opens the trunk

Original classification rating: PG. This clip chosen to be PG

Clip description

Mary McGarvie (Catherine Zeta-Jones) finds a framed photo of Houdini’s mother on her wedding day. 'She looks like you’, Benji (Saoirse Ronan) tells her. Mr Sugarman (Timothy Spall) enters, overhears the comment and confirms that McGarvie was 'the absolute image’ of Houdini’s mother when she was young. It took his breath away when he spotted the similarity, he tells Mary, before trading insults with her. Mary promises to disappear if she wins the $10,000 prize. Sugarman reveals that Houdini doesn’t actually know what his mother said on her deathbed because, to his shame, he was performing a show and not by her bedside when she died.

Curator’s notes

Love is the sustenance that runs through many movies, and this film is a love story. But it is also a love story with many twists and turns. Partly this is because it is about two con artists. For Mary, but also the viewer, this scene makes sense of a lot of what has come before because she learns the true extent of Houdini’s love for his mother. As occurs throughout the film, Benji is the film’s Greek chorus, commenting on events as they unfold and making sure the audience is keeping up.

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australianscreen is produced by the National Film and Sound Archive. By using the website you agree to comply with the terms and conditions described elsewhere on this site. The NFSA may amend the 'Conditions of Use’ from time to time without notice.

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