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Lon Chaney - The Unknown


Sabrina
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Has anyone seen the silent film "The Unknown" with Lon Chaney, Sr.? It is only 90 minutes or so, but so intense, you couldn't stand it for much longer than that! It's fascinating, surprising and amazing. He does all his acting with his facial expressions...and in this movie he goes through many emotions: love, passion, torment, despair...It is such a great movie! The story keeps surprising you and it just gets more intense, emotional and unbelievable as it continues. And Joan Crawford is in it. She's wonderful! HIIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

 

Any other viewpoints?

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Yes, it's an outstanding film which demonstrates Chaney's tremendous talent - doing everything with his FEET! The depth of the drama, with the ironic results, make for a great story too.

 

Actually, it appears that a double (Peter Dismuki, born armless according to imdb.com) did much of the work for Chaney. I assumed Chaney had done it because of the many other physical feats he performed (throughout his film career) himself.

 

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path40a

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  • 2 weeks later...

"It is only 90 minutes or so, but so intense, you couldn't stand it for much longer than that!"

 

Isn't the print TCM shows only 50 minutes? I wish it was 90 minutes; it's such a fantastic film. And dig those shots of Kerry and Crawford filmed through gauze! Reminds me of kitshy paintings you'd see in your grandmother's house, circa 1965, though much better.

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I have seen this movie and think it's fascinating. Lon Chaney is really great-I think his acting is some of the best I've seen in any genre.

 

A question--I've never seen what Joan Crawford looked like in color, and in this movie her eyes seemed to be of a very light color. However, in her 30's and 40's movies, they seem very dark. Is this because of the differences in lighting between 20's era films and 1940's era films? And does anyone know what color her eyes really were?

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I own The Unknown on DVD. It is a great flick. It runs a bit over 60 minutes, I believe. So, if there's another 30 minutes out there, I'd LOVE to see it!! IMO, Lon Chaney Sr. was like no other actor of his time. He did not rely on the exaggerated movements that so many "stage" actors brought with them to silver screen. With Mr. Chaney, you KNOW you are going to get an extremely riveting and realistic performance. I find his work absolutely mesmorizing, and it holds up over the test of time.

 

As for Joan, she was awesome, too. A "real" Hollywood Diva, deserving of The Title. Gosh, ThinMan15, I'm not sure of her eye color (I guess I should have paid more attention to her guest starring spot on "Night Gallery"----if you haven't seen that episode, her eyes play a VERY prominent role in the story----LOL). From what I could see online, I would say they were a very beautiful blue.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I know this doesn't have any thing to do with the topic but are there any good biographies about Lon Chaney? I wish an author would write a really good Bio about Lon Chaney. I can't get enough of him.

 

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Fritz08

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  • 1 month later...

I could not agree more Sabrina as this is an excellent film, by the master of disguise & yes, so many emotions running thru this tortured soul; like you, I strongly recommend it as well.

 

Speaking of Lon Chaney, now the name of this film escapes me, but he protrays a very elderly Chinese man - have seen it but 2 times but it's another great, unheralded piece of work by him - check it out !

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  • 4 months later...

Re: Joan Crawford's eye color:

 

I'm not an expert, but my understanding is that in the silent days, they used to use a type of film (orthochromatic) that was sensitive only to blue light - which rendered blue eyes an unnaturally light shade. Later on, they invented film that was sensitive to all colors (panchromatic), which would make her eyes look darker.

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