IMDb > The Penalty (1920)
The Penalty
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The Penalty (1920) More at IMDbPro »

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The Penalty -- Blizzard, deranged from a childhood operation in which both his legs were perhaps needlessly amputated after an accident...


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Down 29% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Gouverneur Morris (by)
Gouverneur Morris (adapted from his famous novel)
View company contact information for The Penalty on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
3 June 1921 (Mexico) See more »
You'll follow the career of Blizzard - legless king of San Francisco's underworld, with breathless interest. See more »
A deformed criminal mastermind plans to loot the city of San Francisco as well as revenge himself on the doctor who mistakenly amputated his legs. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
(7 articles)
Lon Chaney Hunchback Of Notre Dame January 19th at Schlafly Bottleworks
 (From 16 January 2017, 7:11 PM, PST)

A 'Hollywood Hero' Remembered
 (From Alt Film Guide. 28 August 2013, 6:46 PM, PDT)

The Penalty (1920) | Blu-ray Review
 (From ioncinema. 16 October 2012, 5:20 PM, PDT)

User Reviews:
One of Chaney's best films See more (35 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Charles Clary ... Dr. Ferris

Doris Pawn ... Barbary Nell

Jim Mason ... Frisco Pete (as James Mason)

Lon Chaney ... Blizzard
Milton Ross ... Lichtenstein

Ethel Grey Terry ... Rose

Kenneth Harlan ... Dr. Wilmot Allen

Claire Adams ... Barbara Ferris
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Montgomery Carlyle ... A Crook (uncredited)
Cesare Gravina ... Art Teacher (uncredited)
Lee Phelps ... Policeman (uncredited)
Madlaine Traverse ... Woman (uncredited)
Edouard Trebaol ... Bubbles (uncredited)
Clarence Wilson ... A Crook (uncredited)

Directed by
Wallace Worsley 
Writing credits
Gouverneur Morris (by)

Gouverneur Morris (adapted from his famous novel)

Charles Kenyon (scenario)

Philip Lonergan  scenario (uncredited)

Produced by
Rex Beach .... executive producer (uncredited)
Samuel Goldwyn .... producer (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Don Short (photographed by) (as Donovan D. Short)
Film Editing by
J.G. Hawks (uncredited)
Frank E. Hull (uncredited)
Casting by
Clifford Robertson (uncredited)
Art Direction by
Gilbert White 
Other crew
Rex Beach .... presenter
Samuel Goldwyn .... presenter
Samuel Goldwyn .... president: Goldwyn Pictures Corporation
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
90 min (2004 alternate version)
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
USA:Passed (National Board of Review)

Did You Know?

Lon Chaney could wear the harness for only ten minutes before the pain became intolerable.See more »
Lichtenstein:It means living in that devil's house till you find out what he's up to.
Rose:Of course. Well, I'm game.
See more »
Movie Connections:


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13 out of 15 people found the following review useful.
One of Chaney's best films, 28 October 2002
Author: funkyfry from Oakland CA

Morbid gothic revenge tale set in modern (1918) San Francisco. Chaney gives one of his best performances ever as Blizzard, a legless criminal mastermind out to get his back from the whole city of SF. He can only pillage the treasury, as he envisions, with legs, so he plots to have a doctor amputate another man's legs and graft them onto his own.

Chaney is appropriately diabolical as he moves about on stumps and crutches faster than his bipedal friends. Phoney "redemption" through surgery climax does much to spoil the sadistic fun of the preceding seven reels.

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