'Houdini Cliff' found in the Palisades

In continuing my search for unknown locations featured in Houdini's 1922 film, The Man From Beyond, here is a bit of exciting news! 

The iconic landmark which showcases the dramatic and deadly struggle between Houdini's Howard Hillary and Arthur Maude's Dr. Gilbert Trent atop a towering cliff has been found in the precipices of Palisades Interstate Park in New Jersey.

"Houdini Cliff" is actually a promontory called "High Tom's" and is located in the Englewood Cliffs area of The Palisades. What makes this discovery even more exciting is that "High Tom's" is around 400 feet above the Hudson River, meaning that Houdini was, in fact, quite a way up there during the filming of this particular scene. With Houdini always doing his own stunts, I think this is right up there with some of the more dangerous feats he ever performed.

Credit for confirming this previously unknown filming location goes out to Eric Nelsen, historical interpreter for the Palisades Interstate Park in New Jersey. Eric along with the Barrymore Film Center / Fort Lee Film Commission made this discovery possible.

I originally set out to locate this setpiece along the Niagara gorge area and Devils Hole State Park in Niagara Falls, NY, but quickly realized the geography and river backdrop was not accurate to that shown during the scene in the film. After a few days of online research, I turned to the other known filming locations of The Man From Beyond, specifically Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Zeroing in on the birthplace of the motion picture industry, I contacted Tom Meyers of the Barrymore Film Center / Fort Lee Film Commission who quickly put me in contact with Eric Nelsen. Within a few days, Eric hit the trail and had quickly confirmed the location by only using a few low-resolution pictures and film clips I sent him for reference.

The pictures below of "High Tom's" as it is today were provided by Eric, who I must say lined up the shots perfectly with the original photos and scene! Thank you, Eric!

Thanks once again to Eric Nelsen, Tom Meyers, Richard Koszarski and the Barrymore Film Center / Fort Lee Film Commission for working with me to uncover this mystery. Without their enthusiastic assistance, we wouldn't have this newly found connection to Houdini.

Original photo superimposed with the current day "High Tom's"

More information on Palisades Interstate Park can be found here.
For information on Fort Lee, NJ and the Barrymore Film Center click here.


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