Review: ‘The Unknown’

A good Lon Chaney film that might have been great. The tale concerns an armless fakir in a gypsy circus who loves the proprietor's daughter. The girl has come to detest all men for their constant pawing, hence the welcome companionship of Alonzo (Chaney). None of the circus troupe knows that the latter is physically normal, except his helper. Alonzo fakes by strapping his arms to his sides.

A good Lon Chaney film that might have been great. The tale concerns an armless fakir in a gypsy circus who loves the proprietor’s daughter. The girl has come to detest all men for their constant pawing, hence the welcome companionship of Alonzo (Chaney). None of the circus troupe knows that the latter is physically normal, except his helper. Alonzo fakes by strapping his arms to his sides.

Director Tod Browning has chopped to the bone in the cutting room. And that’s smart, too, because it crams the picture with action and interest. Sweet photography and production all the way, while Joan Crawford never looked better in her life. Both she and Norman Kerry turn in neat support, as do the others in this small-cast feature.

The Unknown

Production

M-G-M. Director Tod Browning; Screenplay Tod Browning, Waldemar Young, Joe Farnham; Camera Merritt Gerstad; Editor Harry Reynolds, Errol Taggart; Art Director Cedric Gibbons, Richard Day

Crew

Silent. (B&W) Extract of a review from 1927. Running time: 55 MIN.

With

Lon Chaney Norman Kerry Joan Crawford Nick De Ruiz John George Frank Lanning
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