Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Unholy Three (1925)

Starring Lon Chaney, Mae Busch, Matt Moore, Victor McLaglen, Harry Earles
Directed by Tod Browning
(actor & director credits courtesy

A trio of carnival performers scheme to use their talents to commit a daring series of robberies, but their leader grows jealous when his girlfriend falls for another man.

One of several collaborations between performer Lon Chaney and director Tod Browning, it may well be among their best, with Chaney, the "Man Of A Thousand Faces," playing a ventriloquist who also impersonates an elderly woman, proprietor of a pet shop he uses as a front for his crimes.  Although this role doesn't offer one of his more remarkable transformations, Chaney's acting is superb, convincing as the ventriloquist (in a silent film!) and believable as the old lady, simply by stooping over and adopting a kindly expression.  The film was remade by Chaney and Browning as a talking picture five years later, but the original is still an impressive achievement.

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