Romantic thriller set in 1926 Edinburgh. A mother and daughter attempt to con Houdini out of the $10,000 prize he offered to anyone able to tell him his mother's dying words.
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Come on, Harry.
Don't do this to me again!
Up! Up! Get the bloody thing up now!
'For some, the Four Winds and the sea bowed down before the Great Houdini.
'He was a god.
'That's what it said in my comics.
'If you were Houdini, you wouldn't be living
'in a place with a leaking roof, worrying how to pay the coal man.
'And you wouldn't be sitting on a damp step outside the pawnshop
'waiting for your mam to hawk her wedding ring.
'Yet again. No.
'You'd be inside somewhere warm and cosy eating cake.'
Rosa, we've got work to do.
That's the wedding ring, back in the window, is it?
Only good use I ever had for it.
Mary McGarvie, a dream come true.
-Not for you.
-Oi! Leave my man alone, ya' gypsy strumpet.
I wouldn't have your hand-me-downs if you paid me.
You frigid old piss-pants!
-It's in the Bible.
Oh, give me that.
'We were a real double act, my mam and me.
'It was just us against the cruel world, living by our wits.'
'Scuse me. 'Scuse me, sir.
-Over here, Rose!
-I told you to wait on the corner.
-Here you are, sir.
-You'll be after your usual posy of violets, Mr Robertson?
There were always her favourites.
Oh, pockets, eh?
-Thank you, my dear.
-Thank you, see you tomorrow.
"To Charles, with never ending love, your Violet."
'You play the game or you go under.
'That's what Mam always said.
'And if it wasn't for her, we would have drowned long ago.'
Deceased, Violet Robertson.
Died of heart failure.
You're that unfortunate?
It was your long-lost aunt a week ago, was it not?
My condolences, Mrs McGarvie.
You're so kind.
You'll be wanting to...
Examine the records, no doubt?
The information you need may be on the tenth shelf.
Or even the 11th.
It's the details of those dear departed one later cherishes.
Don't you think?
Cherishable details, Mrs McGarvie.
How right you are.
Courtship. Who's the baboon?
Who are you calling a baboon, you wee...
Enough monkey play. No juveniles with us, I trust.
Then this is your last chance to see
the Tantalising Princess Kali and her Dusky Disciple.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
EASTERN MUSIC PLAYS
CHEERING AND WOLF-WHISTLING
Oh, be still, girl!
-At least that's one of you decent!
Where've you been?
Kali kasbah magicaram.
-I'm receiving a message.
-About time, eh?
I sent it a week ago!
I see a flower...
-Is there anyone here named...
-'Aye! Up here! She's up here!
Darlin', get up!
That's a lovely pair of red knickers you're wearing tonight, Rose!
-Get away with you!
-Prove her wrong, hen! Wooh!
-Go on, Rose!
There is one I can see...
Such a lady. Like a queen.
The lady's in a garden.
A beautiful garden.
She's like a flower herself.
Not a rose.
A deep, dark flower.
Violet's all alone.
But there's a space beside her for another.
One left behind in this world.
For a moment, I saw a funny wee man in a bowler hat.
Why, it's Mr Charles Chaplin!
Oh, I'm sorry, Charles.
Violet says you're not looking after yourself. Those cuffs are frayed.
She wants to say something.
She says...she's sorry her heart wasnae stronger.
Do you understand what she means, Charles?
It's how she went!
Her heart gave out.
It's true. It's true.
Who's the one who's lost his clock?
-Have you lost something, Charlie?
-I lost my watch!
From another world, it comes!
There is an inscription, oh wise one.
No, no, no. Don't tell me!
I can see it.
"with never-ending love. Your Violet."
There's a chill wind in the garden.
-Violet has to go.
-Until we meet again. Goodbye, Charles.
-Oh, don't go, Violet.
-Don't cling to her, Charles.
-Until you meet again.
-'A glimpse of the afterlife?
'Or just a glimpse of mam? It didn't matter.
'We gave them what they wanted.
'Showbiz isn't all it's cracked up to be.
'The manager skedaddled and owed us for a whole month.
'Mam said, "See? That's men for you!"
'And so we ended up livin' in a graveyard.
'A wee bit before our time.'
What have you got to laugh about?
The theatre's closed.
Those comics won't fill your tummy.
It's just a wee bit of fun, mam!
Oh, you sound just like your father.
"Just a wee bit o' fun, hen."
Then all of a sudden, there was you!
Mr Houdini was the greatest trickster of them all.
And the whole world loved him for it.
You couldn't imagine someone like that could want for anything at all.
Oh, go on, Mam. Read to me.
It just says what's in the picture. You can read it yourself.
"On her death bed, Houdini's beloved Mother...
"...spoke her last words to the Great Man himself.
"Do Spirits Return? Houdini says, 'Prove it!'
"Now famous psychics try to discover those secret words."
"10,000 for whoever transmits his mother's last words."
No-one could pull off that one, could they?
How much is 10,000?
He's coming here! To Edinburgh!
So he is.
'Me and mam thought we could take on anyone.
'Even the Great Houdini.'
-You still here?
You look fine, Harry.
Hurry up! Hurry up!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Mr Houdini! We love you, Mr Houdini! We love you! We love you!
-Welcome back to Scotland, Mr Houdini.
-Thank you, son.
-That monster Nessie still here?
-Aye, she's still here.
Well, tell her this time, Harry Houdini will tie a knot
-in her tail and fling her into the Ocean.
-What about 10,000, Mr Houdini?
Are you psychic? I never met a reporter who didn't know the truth before it happened.
-I don't know about that.
-You put me in touch with my mother, it's yours.
-Still in good shape?
-They say you can take a punch from any man.
-Get rid of these freeloaders.
-Scared of my boy's punch?
I'll take your punch, sonny!
Now, ladies and gentlemen, give us some room, please.
(Watch yourself, Harry, this mob can smell blood.)
HE INHALES DEEPLY
Go on, son!
-Have you done it yet?
Good luck, Houdini!
'Yes, the whole world loved Mr Houdini.
'But it could never be enough.
'There was something dark inside him.
'And poor Mr Sugarman's job was to keep that dark side at bay.'
-It's such an honour to have you with us.
-Be careful with that trunk, you schmuck!
-Mr Houdini's very tired after his journey.
-I'll deal with it, boss.
Come on. Quick as you can. Quick as you can. There!
A dollar? Thank you, sir. Thank Mr Houdini!
Harry. Are you all right?
Are you all right?
I think I can wipe my own ass, Mr Sugarman, thank you.
It's OK, Morry. Nothin' to worry about.
The golden goose is still laying.
"Houdini's Mother Dies.
"Houdini In Mourning.
"Houdini Finds Hope In Spiritualism.
" 'It's a fake,' says Houdini.
"Very private man.
"My greatest ambition is to live and die being worthy of the mother who bore me."
Another believer Mrs McGarvie,
I'm always happy for you to
probe the higher shelves for...those cherishable details.
I already have all the details I need.
Listen to this.
"Madame Claire de Lune, psychic extraordinaire, respectfully accepts
-"Mr Houdini's psychic challenge."
-Clair de who?
Claire de Lune, it's French goddamn it,
get yourself an education, Sugarman.
What do you think? I look like a fruit?
Like a fruit, you look beautiful, Harry.
-No, I look like a fruit.
-They've got class, I like them.
You want to look like a fruit, you wear them.
And as well you know I got an education,
in law and business management, I got a diploma.
I bought it in your glorious country.
Harry, everyone's a fake.
As soon as you scratch the gold leaves all of these so-called psychics
are just made of lead, it's all hocus-pocus, mumbo-jumbo.
-So, why waste our time?
I don't want to be remembered for a bunch of dumb stunts.
For once this ain't about chains and padlocks it's about science.
It's about proof.
You're pushing yourself too hard, Harry.
Get off me.
This is from the Scientific American.
The Scientific American.
And my psychic experiment is science.
Showbiz is showbiz, Harry.
It's not about science, it's about nickels and dimes. Nickels and dimes.
Yeah, well, you look after the nickels and dimes
and I'll look after the science.
DISTANT FACTORY HOOTER BLARES
'Mistress of the skies, that was my mam.'
'She could just pluck a character off a shelf and act her as swish as the best of them.
'And just about managed to convince herself.'
LIFT BELL PINGS
They've got two hours to check the tank.
The boys will be set by the time we get there.
-Curtain's at eight.
Like Mrs Glam with a headache.
"I'm with you, my Harry, even in dreams.
"Your little darling wife, Bess."
Little darling wife.
He's mine, I do Mr Houdini. Who do you think you are?
Who do I think I am?
I'm the one who does all the bloody work around here.
You little thief.
-I was just looking.
-Yeah, sure you were.
That's our audience you're kicking in the pants there, Mr Sugarman.
I'm sure she's OK, you can let her go.
What's your name, kid?
Lost your voice, huh?
When did you last hear it? Oh, wait, I know.
IN GIRL'S VOICE: "Help! Help! I'm in here.
"I'm in here. I'm in here. Come on, open up.
"Open up, open up. Open up."
How's that for size?
-Want a sandwich?
-Yes, please, Mr Houdini.
Ah, the voice fits. A little gummed up still, but it works. What else can you say?
My name's Benji, Mr Houdini.
Benji Mr Houdini? I'd drop the second part it's already spoken for,
just plain Benji sounds good to me.
Just Plain Benji isn't much of a name either.
Well, we have a comedienne here, Mr Sugarman.
Maybe she can do the warm-up. HE GROANS
I'm not a comedienne, Mr Houdini.
No? What do you do for a living?
Rob banks, train fleas, dance the Highland fling?
Steal from dressing rooms?
I'm a psychic.
Well, more a sort of disciple.
A psychic sidekick, huh?
The tantalising Princess Kali and her dusky disciple.
-That's you, huh?
-We were top of the bill at McTavish's Palace.
Top of the bill at the Palace, eh?
Well, I think I have a little something for you too.
Tonight's performance, don't be late.
Thanks, Mr Houdini.
MR SUGARMAN CLEARS THROAT
My mam doesn't do tricks, like, it's real, Mr Houdini.
-It's no jiggery-pokery.
-I'm sure she's great, kid, goodbye.
-She's got the gift.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Fellow travellers, dear friends, modern science tells us that life
had its beginnings in the gloomy depths of the great oceans.
Our own little lives are but a brief gasp before we plunge back
down into that dreamy darkness from which there's no return.
Or is there?
I, Harry Houdini, shall discover the truth for all of us.
Naked we emerged from that sea of the unconscious
and that is how I now propose to travel.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I entreat you do not attempt to hold your breath in emulation of me.
May God guide me and have mercy on my immortal soul.
THEY HOLD THEIR BREATH
It's taking too long.
Get him out!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
-Nearly two minutes over.
-And that's two minutes you didn't know about.
You don't have to do this, you don't have to push yourself every time.
Yes, I do.
# I met Houdini, I met Houdini... #
I met him, Ma.
He's got these eyes that just burn through to the back of your head.
He's incredible, Ma.
You got caught.
What did I tell you?
Rule number one, never get caught.
So what did you find out?
Or were you too busy making eyes at him?
Do you think I like living like this?
Surrounded by grime and filth and other people's hand-me-downs.
I want new things...
I want 10,000.
Did you find out anything, Mam?
There wasn't a single personal thing in his hotel suite.
Like he doesn't exist.
He had a fancy trunk with his initials on.
The kind of trunk you keep your secrets in.
That only takes a tiny wee key.
Now where would Mr Houdini keep a key like that, eh?
Mmm. And this.
It's a start, I'll busk the rest.
Eat your tea, now.
-Good afternoon, Mr Houdini.
Perhaps a secret message. It's from your mother.
It's in Hungarian, isn't it, Jock?
You should have done your homework, Hamish, she didn't speak Hungarian.
She spoke German. Next.
-You're a hoofer.
-Aye, sir, a hoofer I am.
We're interviewing psychics.
Think of a number...
Message from your mama, very cold, very cold.
Message, little Harry, growing old, growing old.
Macbeth, act one, scene one, right?
Right, thank you very much, ladies, we'll let your mother know.
Out you go. Thank you, now, very good.
-She'll never forgive you, Harry.
-What did you say?
Forgive me for what? I never hurt her in my goddamn life.
-What the hell's she talking about, Sugarman?
-10,000 American dollars,
that's what she's talking about, Harry.
If God ever permitted an angel to walk the earth it's my mother.
-Ah, the psychic's sidekick.
-Do I have permission to kick our audience in the pants this time?
Come on, kid, clear off. Mr Houdini's had enough for one day.
-It's not me, I told you.
It's my mam.
I'm sorry for the intrusion, Mr Houdini. Mr Sugarman, is it?
We have a psychic act, me and my daughter, here.
Not such a wonderful act, really.
I wear somewhat of a revealing costume.
I pretend to see those on the other side, sometimes I really do.
My mother would have called it a travesty, waste of a God-given gift,
she used hers for healing, didn't she, Benji?
Maybe I should have made more of mine, but...
there's no man at home and there's bread to put on the table.
I'm sorry, Mr Houdini, I'm so deeply sorry for your loss.
Last night I dreamed a dream.
I saw someone I've never met, in a place I've never been.
A lady in a garden.
Her hair was silver and she was small,
wearing a black dress.
And she was waving as if...
beckoning someone to her.
Does it mean something to you, Mr Houdini?
It means you read the New York Times, Mrs er...
It was the Herald Tribune, actually.
That picture was syndicated all-over.
Sometimes it works.
Sometimes you have to help it along, is that a sin?
I read a page...
..I hear words...
But they all seem like shapes
and colours to me now.
I'm sorry. Did you say something?
I think you're the one we've been waiting for.
'It was as if the earth stopped turning.
'That's what they say in the great romances, isn't it?
'But we didn't know the half of it.'
Are you sure you know what you're doing, Harry?
Oh, come on. It's got to be a sign.
You were there, you saw her.
Change that to scrupulous scientific conditions.
There are more things in heaven and earth
than in all your audit books, Mr Shakespeare.
More than 10,000?
Mr Harry Houdini announces the most extraordinary experiment ever staged
by modern science that will prove beyond all reasonable doubt
the existence of an afterlife.
Sealed inside this envelope,
Mr Houdini has written the last words spoken to him by his dear departed mother.
Known only to him, and shared with no-one.
This safe will be lodged at the Royal Bank of Scotland
until the day of the psychic experiment, which will
be conducted under scrupulous scientific conditions
in front of the world's press.
Mr Houdini intends to contact the departed soul of his beloved mother.
We've died and gone to heaven.
Look at the castle, Mam!
And I can see right up Princes Street
all the way to the Scott Monument.
Oh. It smells of heather, and it's all free!
Nothing in this world is free.
Come Sunday, if we don't deliver the secret words
that Mr Houdini wants to hear, all this goes - just vanishes.
But he's taken a real shine to us. The plan's working.
That's as maybe.
But something is going on.
It's too easy.
I didn't do a thing.
Oh. Come in.
Madam, from Mr Houdini.
-Why, thank you very much.
What does it say?
He's invited me to take luncheon.
Mam, this is it!
This is what we want.
But what does Mr Houdini want?
Would you stop skipping for a minute?
Excuse me, we've got kids here!
Women and children, you've got male and female in the same cage here!
-Ought to be a law against it.
-It's nature, Mr Sugarman.
Well, maybe nature should learn a bit of decency.
-Monkeys are just like you and me.
-You speak for yourself.
You're no different - the great Houdini says jump and you jump.
You're just a dancing monkey.
Let's go and look at the aquarium,
they've got sharks and underwater tortoises and all sorts.
Do you want to know something, sweetheart?
What's that, Mr Sugarman?
You ain't going to take my Mr Houdini for that ten grand.
'Mam and I were keeping them guessing.
'Luckily, men are fools for a bit of glitter and a borrowed frock.'
Forgive the intimacy of our little restaurant.
News hounds are everywhere.
I've never stayed in a place like this before.
Something to tell the grandchildren!
-You got the flowers OK?
-Oh, enough for a wedding.
-Won't you sit down, please?
-Men don't spend money on flowers
just because they enjoy the smell of them.
Oh, I just meant to be friendly. Are you sure you won't sit down?
Is this part of the audition?
Sit down, please.
Pick anything you like.
It's all in foreign...
Do what I do - pick a high number, you can't go wrong.
That, I'll have that one, please.
That's bread, madam.
-I'll have the same, bread all round. Plain and simple.
-Of course, sir.
Bread, plain and simple.
And champagne for the lady, best in the house.
Mrs McGarvie, this isn't me, all of this.
I was raised in Appleton, Wisconsin.
I sold paper, shined shoes and did conjuring tricks.
-Just a regular Joe.
-You've done your research, right?
You know everything there is to know about me already.
A little old-fashioned, maybe, but I like them. If you'll allow me...
I'm not a wee girl, Mr Houdini.
What is it you want, Mr Houdini?
I want to treat you as the lady you so clearly are.
-You're special, Mrs McGarvie.
You have a gift.
'The truth was she couldn't read him and she let him get under her skin.'
We went on the big wheel and Mr Sugarman was sick.
Back where I come from, Mr Sugarman, we always acknowledge a lady.
Mrs McGarvie, I do apologise.
I hardly recognised you.
I don't have the time, or the inclination, to figure out what it is you really want.
So I'll just leave you and Mr Sugarman to your silly games.
-Mrs McGarvie, please.
Harry, come here. Harry, you run after her now, make a scene,
it'll be all over the papers in the morning.
Then where is your great experiment?
Harry! Rise and shine.
-What time is it?
What did you let me sleep through for?
Get yourself a louder bell, Sugarman.
Gentlemen of the press, one o'clock, worshipful company of locksmiths,
2.30 and St Andrew's orphanage, four o'clock.
-Let's buy a bunch of shoes for the kids.
It's all right, Mam, he's going to be ages.
Sorry, Mam, I couldn't help it.
Come on, kid. Harry, do you want me...
You want to look inside Pandora's box, huh?
Take a peek at the real Houdini?
All yours. No psychic gifts required.
You disappoint me.
Here was me thinking you was the genuine article,
solid gold, through and through.
I was embarrassed to ask.
I just needed something.
A personal item, a wee token, a handkerchief, that's all.
You see, it helps me channel the energy, my psychic energy.
Your psychic energy?
I've seen mediums, crystal gazers, palmists, spirit guides,
theatres fit to bust with psychic energy, Mrs McGarvie,
and do you know something?
Until someone proves me wrong, it's all moonshine,
con artists and cheap chiselers out to fleece poor folks
looking for a little peace of mind.
So that's what this whole charade's about?
Proving the great Houdini wrong.
I wasn't referring to you personally, Mrs McGarvie.
-Here. For your...psychic energy.
10,000 doesn't mean much to you, does it? It's just a game.
Don't mean that much to me?
When I was a kid, we used to sleep seven in a bed half this size.
Harry Houdini knows what it means to be cold and hungry and without a dime.
The difference is you left all that behind, didn't you?
This is the latest in slumber science I'll have you know,
internally sprung, just like me.
You never sleep that peaceful again, do you?
I don't think I've slept right since I was nine years old.
-Not at all?
-Not a wink since I got a bed to myself.
You should start inviting people in!
I just can't hardly remember the old days.
The real days.
Like it was somebody else's dream.
Would you like to see something real, Mr Houdini?
VIBRANT FOLK MUSIC
-How am I doing?
-Oh, you could pass for a native.
When in Rome, that's what my ma always used to say.
I wish you could have met her.
You'd have got on like a house on fire.
Don't go giving away too much about her. They'd say we cheated.
Cheated? No. I'm not like those fakers, Mary, those cheap chislers.
I'm like you - just trying to earn an honest dollar.
Heads or tails?
Then I choose neither.
My penny for your dollar.
-Heads or tails?
Don't you love it?
I used to practise card tricks and table magic eight hours a day.
-I studied locks and handcuffs for five years. I got to know them all back to front.
I used to run ten miles a day, push weights for two hours.
-You couldn't have had much time for anything else.
-I made time.
Do you know, when I was a kid, I was Eric, prince of the air.
I told Mama I'd be a flyer, done that, told her I'd be a movie star, done that too.
Swore I'd be the greatest escape man in the world.
Made all my wishes come true, but I had my own piece of immortality.
Mr Houdini, sir, could I get your autograph?
Of course you can.
You're OK - you've got your own piece of immortality right there.
You don't have children, I can tell. They make you old before your time.
That ain't so, you're the living proof.
The tantalising Princess Kali and her dusky disciple.
-Sounds like a fun act.
If I fail, we starve.
Well, I fail and I die.
I don't think you want to get involved with someone like me, Mr Houdini.
Well, maybe I do.
Wait for me!
-Are you sure about that?
Benji! Stay away from the edge!
Look at that! It's beautiful.
Ladies and gentlemen!
I am to be suspended from the roof
of the very heavens with neither net nor harness.
Only a five-strand rope will prevent me from plummeting earthwards,
dashing my brains to a thousand pieces.
May God have mercy on my immortal soul.
Oh, no, I can't.
Oh, come on.
A foot in both worlds.
Oh, I can't look.
I guess I want to make it last.
How did you do that?
Ladies and gentlemen.
Ladies and gentlemen!
I beg your indulgence.
The Maestro Houdini has been taken ill with the condition
-of severe nervous exhaustion.
There will be... There will be a refund available from noon tomorrow.
Mr Houdini sends his regrets...
'To look into deep water and see things on the other side.
'Mr Houdini would've given anything to do that.
'It's a gift some are given,
'whether you want it or not.'
Help me! Mam!
-What happened...with him?
-Nothing happened with him.
Harry's a gentleman.
So you didn't get the key, then?
I'm not sure I care so much about the key any more.
We're in it for the money, remember.
Not for a roll in the hay like you did with my dad.
'That was when I saw it for real.
'Mam was in love.
'And the trouble with love is this -
'some people get left out.'
"Harry Houdini Disappears."
"Harry Houdini Misses Show."
"Harry Houdini Messes Up."
This whole psychic thing is taking over.
Do you hear me? It's taking over!
These are from your wife. Did you remember you had a wife?
She's wiring you twice a day
and you're going ga-ga over some schiksa with a cute line in chat!
Mrs McGarvie's a lady. And I won't have you forget it.
We've got to get our priorities in order.
All right, Harry. I quit.
You want to play poker with me, Morry?
First, I'm "pushing it to the wire".
And now the "psychic thing" is taking over.
About time you got your priorities sorted, don't you think?
C'mon, buckle me up.
Put your shoulders back.
You're walkin' like an old man, ya moustache Pete.
'It was up to me and Mr Sugarman to keep things on the right path.
'The Great Houdini had fallen for Mam, all right.
'But it was as if he didn't want to admit it.
'Maybe the secret that Mr Houdini had locked away in his heart
'was going to be a way out for all of us.'
Mr Houdini gets some funny ideas in his head sometimes, you know.
Seven year itch, Mr Sugarman?
All marriages go through a rocky patch.
Mr Houdini has a most exceptional marriage.
Mr and Mrs Houdini are soul mates. They're like brother and sister.
-There's the problem, then.
-That sort of talk give you a thrill, does it?
What do you want, Mr Sugarman?
What do I want?
Do you know what this is?
This is 500 Scottish pound notes.
I want you to take them and I want you to disappear.
-I'm not sure I want to disappear.
-Yeah, you do.
What schtick you going to pull to earn that 10,000, eh?
It's not going to happen. It's specific.
Specific words he wants to hear. Take the money.
It's not on offer forever.
If I fail Mr Houdini's challenge, you'll never see me again anyway.
So why are you so worried?
-You are special.
-Thank you very much.
You don't know how special.
You have no idea.
But you're going to find out.
You don't scare me, Mr Sugarman.
We're going dancing.
Oh! Oh, yes.
It's a dance he's taking you on, all right.
You're way out of your depth on this one, Mrs McGarvie.
Shh! We're all incognito.
Polka. Polka! Come on, dance. We've all got to dance.
Shake a leg, Mr Sugarman.
Come on, you old moustache Pete.
What do you think? Do people choose the night to do strange things,
or is it the dark that makes them act funny?
-It's the night, Harry.
You do things you wouldn't normally do.
Ask all kinds of questions.
Like the ones you never asked last night?
I've had enough.
Like men friends? Fathers? Mr McGarvies? You never asked.
Maybe I didn't want to know the answers.
Waste of time, all three of them.
Haven't seen him this crazy...
since his mother died.
That's not crazy, Mr Sugarman.
You're a good dancer.
I've never danced like this before.
I thought you'd have a girl in every port.
You'll be leaving, won't you?
Montreal. Final date. You'll go home.
-Chicken soup for supper.
-Is it Mrs Houdini who makes this soup?
Cook makes the soup.
Mrs Houdini serves it up. You'd like her.
I can't see us washing dishes together.
Maid does the dishes.
Things change, Mary.
I'm the Great Houdini. I make things the way I want them to be.
-Oh, I can. Believe me.
This is real. I'm real.
-What's happening to me?
-You're dancing, Mary.
Well, I don't want to dance any more.
Don't worry, kid.
There's no future in it.
I've got something that might interest you.
Mr Sugarman doesn't like you.
Says you're just a gold-digger.
You don't listen to any word that Mr Sugarman says. Got it?
Mr Sugarman's on our side.
Go on, Mam...
-It's his mother.
-She looks like you.
You're the absolute image of her, when she was young.
Took my breath away.
Our Mr Houdini was closer to his mother than most sons ever dream of.
Maybe all this does something for you? Hm?
Like I said, Mrs McGarvie, way out of your depth.
-I thought you people were smart.
We're here for the star prize.
But you need the words.
You need his mother's dying words.
-It doesn't matter, Mam.
I'd put on his Mam's pinny if I had to.
I'd dress him, feed him, clean him, whatever it takes.
You want me gone?
Well, you better start helping me, Mr Sugarman.
If anyone knows the words, you do.
-You win the ten grand and you disappear, right?
-That was always the deal.
I used to be a nice man, you know.
Can you believe it? I just got old and mean.
There aren't any words.
At least, if there were, Harry Houdini never heard them.
He was doing a show. Oh, he talks like he was there.
He gives you every detail, makes himself weep.
I've heard it a million times.
His big regret. His deepest guilt.
The moment his mother needed him most...
..he wasn't there.
'All Mr Houdini's secrets were out in the open.
'The question was, what would Mam do with his future?
'Give him a glimpse of the afterlife,
'or a bitter-sweet taste of the here and now?
'Love or money?'
The safe is untouched. You have my word on it.
Aye, Chief Constable. Good.
Mr Houdini asks that you wear his mother's wedding dress, Madam,
in order to channel the psychic energy, you understand.
Look at it, child.
Just look at it.
He doesn't want me. He just wants his mama.
-What do you hope to prove by this experiment?
Ah, the psychic reporter.
-We know the truth before it happens, right?
-Not this time.
This experiment is a battle between love and death, gentlemen.
Is death final, or will love triumph?
-Place your bets, please!
-What odds would you put on that, Mr Houdini?
Well, there's a headline, boys. Houdini says, "Is Death Final?" THEY LAUGH
Ladies and gentlemen. Fellow investigators.
The aim of the Scottish Institute for Psychical Research
is to evaluate the evidence for the paranormal
under the strictest scientific conditions.
I assure you, ladies and gentlemen, no phantom escapes us.
-LAUGHTER We want Houdini!
-I'm tired of waitin'!
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
As my dear mother lay dying,
departing this Earth for a better place,
she spoke her last sweet words to me.
Her devoted son.
Those words are engraved upon my heart.
My heart, ladies and gentlemen.
Those words are known only to me.
If Mrs McGarvie's psychic gift is genuine,
God willing, she shall receive
-those last words from the other side and transmit them to us today.
'Mam looked beautiful.
'Like an angel.
'Maybe Mr Houdini saw her,
'or maybe he saw his own sweet mother.
'It didn't matter.
'In that moment, she was everything he'd been waiting for.'
There is no trickery here, ladies and gentlemen.
There is only faith and hope.
Mrs McGarvie. Are you ready?
-Mama, can you hear me?
Dear little Mother...
Mama, please try.
Ehrich's here. Your good boy's here.
-I can't do this. I can't take your money.
SHE SPEAKS IN TONGUES
-IN GERMAN ACCENT:
Ehrich...? Where are you?
Go to your mother. I need you.
Your Mama's so alone.
-Ich bin hier, Mama.
-Wo bist du?
Why you not come to me?
-Mama, I'm here.
-Where are you?
Mein gutes kind...
-Mama, I tried to get there...
-I can't see you!
-I tried to get there...
-Mama can't see you.
-..I had to finish the show. Mama, I'm sorry.
I'm sorry, Mama. Es tut mir leid, Mama.
Es tut mir leid. Mama, forgive me.
-Forgive me, Mama...!
He's waitin' for you.
The angel with fire-red hair.
Got wings too.
Clock says noon, sun goes black.
Watch out. Here he comes.
CROWD GASPS Benji!
The envelope! The envelope!
-The paper is blank!
-There's naught on the paper!
-There are no words!
-Can you explain this, please?
Mr Houdini! Explain! What does it mean?
To my eternal shame, I...
I never got there. I was... I was too late. I'm sorry.
-Harry! Are you all right, Harry?
'It wasn't death that scared Mr Houdini.
'He'd been diving into deep water all his life.
'What scared him was the truth.
'It wasn't his body that was in chains.
'It was his heart.'
God have mercy on my immortal soul.
DOOR OPENS, DOG BARKS AGAIN
Thanks for the money.
Or have you come to take it back?
It's not really about the money, is it?
-Well, look what you've done to me.
-I only made you fall in love.
Don't flatter yourself.
-That's all fine, then.
Your Mama forgives you. Now you can get out.
-That was not love.
That was infatuation.
What was it? A Polka or a foxtrot?
Another fling. Just another fling.
But it never quite happened, did it?
-Why was that?
-I'd never been there before.
-I didn't understand what was happening.
-Don't touch me.
-I didn't mean that. That ain't what I want.
-So what does the Great Houdini want?
Cos he doesn't want me.
I'm not your little darling wife, and I'm certainly not your mama.
-Mary, I'm afraid.
-Afraid of what?
-Afraid of myself. Of what I feel for you, what I want.
I love you, Mary.
But... But it's just shameful.
Shameful? Who taught you that?
It's not shameful, Harry.
It's what men and women do.
It keeps the winter at bay. The loneliness at bay.
And sometimes, if you're really lucky...
..down amongst the sweaty sheets, you find a tiny bit of true human love.
Did you ever find it?
-A tiny bit of love?
They say it's easy, Harry.
They say it's like falling.
No, falling's easy.
I don't know if I've got the nerve for this.
-Do you know what it was made me fall for you?
I mean, really you.
You looked so fierce.
I don't much like me.
Well, I do.
-It's easy, isn't it?
-Just like falling.
'Mr Houdini never asked about the strange words that came out of me.
'He never asked where I got them from either.
'He believed in me.'
You'll catch your death.
No. Quite the reverse.
So, off to Montreal, is it?
Last one, last time.
You saved me, Mrs McGarvie.
You saved yourself...Mr Houdini.
You saved me, too.
Lost your voice, huh?
When did you last hear it?
Take care of your mama for me. Hey, I'll see you again.
ENGINE STARTS UP
Angel with fiery red hair. Clock says noon, sun goes black.
Watch out, here he comes.
Just gave him what he wanted, it was easy.
You're going soft, you are.
It's like Mr Sugarman says, it's all just showbiz mumbo-jumbo.
All we've got is what we can touch and see.
That's my girl.
'When I was very small, I had a gift.
'I saw things other folk didnae see.
'As I grew up, the gift vanished, just like my mam said it would.
'But mam was wrong.'
Let them get a good look.
?Are you going to follow in your mother's footsteps, Benji?
Benji, give us a look, you know, the psychic look. Yes!
Just had the message direct from heaven.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
CHEERING Mr Houdini!
I'm a student at the college, studying business management.
-My friend wants to shake your hand.
-Pleased to meet you.
You can take a punch, right?
-Get these kids out of here!
-Isn't that right, Mr Houdini?
-What did you say?
-Trick or treat!
HE GROANS, CROWD GASPS
KO'd in the first round!
Mam, what's wrong?
-BACK! GET BACK! GET BACK!
-I didn't mean to hit him so hard.
Oh, I saw that one comin'.
-SOMEONE GET A DOCTOR!
-Yes, sir, right away, sir.
You're going to be OK, Harry.
-I don't know.
-WILL SOMEBODY CALL A BLOODY DOCTOR?!
-You're going to be fine, Harry...
Oh, God, forgive me.
I told them, Harry.
That stuff about your mother, I... I told them.
I know. I know you did, Mr Sugarman.
Oh... Catch me...
'The Great Houdini changed our lives,
'and, for a wee short while, we taught him how to love.
'And me and Mam,
'we had the here and now,
'and we had each other.'
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
A romantic thriller set in 1926 Edinburgh. A mother and daughter attempt to con Houdini out of the 10,000-dollar prize he offered to anyone able to tell him his mother's dying words.