An Honest Liar

03 Apr

An Honest Liar – directed by Justin Weinstein & Tyler Measom. Documentary. 93 minutes Color 2015.


The Story: A magician and escape artist campaigns against phony spiritualists and gives us his long life, 86 years, with many surprises, twists, tricks, and teases.


A second documentary about a vibrant man in his 9th decade graces our current attention.

See them both. See Seymour An Introduction, the story of the great piano teacher Seymour Bernstein, and catch this one too.

James Randi is a dynamite man, full of virility and wit and drive. He runs away from his Canadian home as a kid and joins the circus. And before long he starts to master Houdini’s escape feats, surpassing them in many instances. Over the years it gets filmed. But at 50 he decides to retire, for he nearly drowns – not dangling over Niagara Falls in a straightjacket, which we also see him do – but in another straightjacket in a tank which failed. He is similar to Seymour Bernstein in this who also retired from the performing stage at age 50, from wounds to his soul and his body.

At which time he sets to expose charlatan faith healers and spiritualists. And we see all this on camera recorded over the years. Many times a guest on Johnny Carson where he entertained mightily, and a frequent foe of Uri Geller, whose methods he exposed, Randi develops a salty, savvy style which he retains to our delight right now.

Two big surprises await you as the documentary closes, and you will be moved and gratified as they emerge.

I felt enlivened by this remarkable man, so volatile, so pungent, so entertaining. So honest.


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