Review: ‘West of Zanzibar’

West of Zanzibar will satisfy Lon Chaney fans who like their color regardless of the way it is daubed.

West of Zanzibar will satisfy Lon Chaney fans who like their color regardless of the way it is daubed.

Lionel Barrymore captures the magician’s bride, just after Chaney has subtitled his affection for her. The latter part is dully played and given scant meaning. She passes out of the picture too soon thereafter for the magician to believe that the competition is the kid’s dad.

Then, for no particular reason, the action is transferred to another world. Chaney, too hurriedly, is shown as an ivory robber and just as mysteriously Barrymore suddenly develops to have quit the stage and become a white trader in Africa.

With the same unexplainable rapidity, Chaney is revealed to have started his revenge by training the babe in the ways of tropical fleshpots.

Mary Nolan as the grown daughter does not make the matriculation of a prostitute any too vivid. Rather, a blonde saint in Chaney’s eerie jungle den is the reaction. Jungle scenes with crocodiles oozing through slime and a score or so of vaselined black extras doing their dances and attending to their funeral pyres are what get this by.

West of Zanzibar

Production

M-G-M. Director Tod Browning; Screenplay Elliott Clawson, Waldemar Young; Camera Percy Hilburn; Editor Harry Reynolds; Art Director Cedric Gibbons

Crew

(B&W) Extract of a review from 1928. Running time: 70 MIN.

With

Lon Chaney Lionel Barrymore Warner Baxter Mary Nolan Jane Daly Roscoe Ward
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