The Unknown (1927)
Director: Tod Browning
Main Stars: Lon Chaney, Norman Kerry, Joan Crawford
Storyline: An armless knife thrower from a circus is a fake and turns to the life of crime.
Review (Spoils): I ran across this film when I was searching for something new to watch but yet old. This short black and white film was quick surprise. We have a mixed up knife thrower from a circus named Alonzo (Lon Chaney )who is reaching fame for being one armed but the truth is he is a fake. Nanon (Joan Crawford) the daughter of the circus owner has stolen his heart but she is tied between Alonzo and Mirabar (Norman Kerry). Alonzo will do anything to win her.
This movie is very dark and it kept me glued to the screen for a silent film. Lon Chaney once again creates a character that is memorable and downright chilling. He truly is the Master of Horror.
Rating: This is great movie if you do not mind silent films. Check this baby out and it has Lon Chaney and Joan Crawford so what are you waiting for!
The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Director: Rupert Julian
Main Stars: Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry
Storyline: The Opera House of Paris is haunted by a mysterious phantom that falls in love with a singer named Christine (Mary Philbin). He grants her the greatest role and success if she will give it all up for him.
Review: This is my first silent film review. There was so many to choose from my collection to be my first but Lon Chaney is a legend in horror (plus Rebecca had never seen it before). The story is very easy to follow as it is a haunting love story of a phantom named Erik (Lon Chaney) who will do anything for the girl.
First off the sets in this movie are amazing and massive. The Opera Hall itself is a whole screen from roof to floor and the casting for fill in actors/actresses is huge. This film is amazing for its time when it comes to detail. Even the many levels of the catacombs beneath the stag are very detailed with water ways, dripping walls and even a large bedroom. Unfortunately the copy I own has changes in color for certain areas in the dungeons ranging from blue/red/ green to black and white. Not sure Universal decided to do this on later copies but still it did not stop the beauty of the sets.
Now to the monster himself! Lon Chaney steals the show when it comes to acting in this one and the mystery behind his man like half mask leads to the revealing of one of the best make-up monster to date. The pale skin, fearful mouth of jagged teeth and those menacing bulging eyes. This is the best of the entire versions of this tale and thanks to Lon Chaney creating one of the most memorable monsters of horror.
Rating: Crack open the case for this one as it’s a classic and if you dislike silent films this still a must see. The gothic beauty of the sets alone is worth the watch. Thank God Lon Chaney passed some of his greatness to his son to continue the horror venture.