Wallace Worsley made five films with silent movie icon Lon Chaney. Lamentably, two of those, Voices of the City (1921) and The Blind Bargain (1922), are lost. The Ace of Hearts (1921) survives, but their most famous collaborations remain The Penalty (1920) and the epic Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923). It is for these two films Worsley, an otherwise undistinguished . . . → Read More: WALLACE WORSLEY’S THE PENALTY (1920) STARRING LON CHANEY
He Who Gets Slapped (1924) is part of the 2011 Warner Archive Lon Chaney collection, and in this film Chaney gives one of his most natural, assured performances—in no small part due to director Victor Sjostrom, who also directed Chaney, with Norma Shearer, in the following year’s Tower Of Lies (unfortunately, yet another lost film). . . . → Read More: VICTOR SJOSTROM’S HE WHO GETS SLAPPED (1924) STARRING LON CHANEY
The Monster (1925) is part of the extensive Warner Archive Collection 2011 releases. This film, directed by Roland V. West and starring Lon Chaney, goes a considerable length to prove the adage that “there is nothing new under the sun.” Essentially, The Monster is the precursor for the tongue-in-cheek old-dark-house-with-malevolent-horror-star-as-host movie. Considerably later,Vincent Price and . . . → Read More: ROLAND WEST’S THE MONSTER (1925) STARRING LON CHANEY
Although Lon Chaney has two roles in Outside the Law (1920), he is not the star; rather, the film features early Tod Browning favorite Priscilla Dean. Dean plays Silky Moll, daughter of mobster Silent Madden (Ralph Lewis), and both are attempting to reform under the guidance of Confucian Master Chang Lo (E. Alyn Warren). Black . . . → Read More: TOD BROWNING’S OUTSIDE THE LAW (1920)
Like a true auteur, Tod Browning essentially kept remaking the same film. He was a peculiarity in Hollywood. He refused an agent, generally refused assignment scripts and, instead, consistently sought out material that interested him.
Where East is East (1929) was the last of the Tod Browning/Lon Chaney collaborations, it was the last of Browning’s . . . → Read More: TOD BROWNING’S WHERE EAST IS EAST (1929)
The Blackbird (1926) is a typically deranged underworld melodrama from the Tod Browning/Lon Chaney canon. It has, lamentably, never been made available to the home video market, even though the restored print shown on TCM is in quite good condition and, surprisingly, is missing no footage. The Blackbird is also one of the most visually . . . → Read More: TOD BROWNING’S THE BLACKBIRD (1926)
London After Midnight (1927) is the most sought after and discussed lost film of the silent era. Whether it actually deserves to be the most sought after has been intensely debated, but the fact that London After Midnight is lost is solely the fault of MGM. MGM head Louis B. Mayer was something akin to . . . → Read More: TOD BROWNING’S LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT (1927) & MARK OF THE VAMPIRE (1935)
The Unknown (1927) is one of the final masterpieces of the silent film era. Suspend disbelief and step into the carnival of the absurd. The Unknown is the ebony carousel of the Tod Browning/Lon Chaney oeuvre, the one film in which the artists’ obsessions perfectly crystallized. This is a film uniquely of its creators’ time, . . . → Read More: TOD BROWNING’S THE UNKNOWN (1927)
The Road to Mandalay (1926) & West of Zanzibar (1928) represent the Tod Browning/Lon Chaney collaboration at the height of its nefarious, Oedipal zenith, brought to you, for your entertainment, by Irving Thalberg.
Unfortunately, The Road to Mandalay exists only in fragmented and disintegrated state, a mere 36 minutes of its original seven reels. In . . . → Read More: TOD BROWNING’S WEST OF ZANZIBAR (1928) & THE ROAD TO MANDALAY (1926)
In 2011 Warner Brothers has finally released a series of Lon Chaney films on DVD. Of these, the 1925 Unholy Three, directed by Tod Browning, is of considerable interest. The Tod Browning/Lon Chaney collaborations The Unknown (1927) and a photo still reconstruction of the legendary, lost London After Midnight (1927) were released a few years . . . → Read More: TOD BROWNING’S THE UNHOLY THREE (1925)