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Outside the Law (1920)

Passed  |   |  Crime, Romance  |  6 January 1921 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 322 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 3 critic

In this early collaboration with director Tod Browning (Dracula, Freaks), Chaney delivers a dual performance of dramatic intensity, starring as Ah Wing, a kind-hearted student of Confucian ... See full summary »

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Title: Outside the Law (1920)

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Wheeler Oakman ...
Dapper Bill Ballard
...
Black Mike Sylva / Ah Wing
Ralph Lewis ...
Silent Madden
E. Alyn Warren ...
Chang Lo
Stanley Goethals ...
That Kid
Melbourne MacDowell ...
Morgan Spencer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Wilton Taylor ...
Inspector
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Storyline

In this early collaboration with director Tod Browning (Dracula, Freaks), Chaney delivers a dual performance of dramatic intensity, starring as Ah Wing, a kind-hearted student of Confucian philosophy, and Black Mike Sylva, a murderous rake of the San Francisco underworld. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Three Cleverest Crooks in the World! (original poster) See more »

Genres:

Crime | Romance

Certificate:

Passed
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

6 January 1921 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fora da Lei  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The reference in the original ads to the film being a "Universal Jewel" didn't have anything to do with the content of the film. It was a designation Universal president Carl Laemmle put on certain films to signal that these were the most prestigious, highest-budgeted productions of his studio. See more »

Goofs

The name of San Francisco's Nob Hill is misspelled "Knob Hill" in a title. See more »

Quotes

Black Mike Sylva: I knew you'd fall for that cop stuff - you dirty rat!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Man of a Thousand Faces (1957) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Minor but solid early Browning-Chaney collaboration recommended to fans of their collective output
26 September 2008 | by (Greece) – See all my reviews

Not a stab at the movie's quality but (as with many Lon Chaney vehicles) it's worth a watch mostly for his typically electrifying performance. He plays another tough as nails gangster bad guy called Black Mike (and has a secondary role as Ah Wing, Chinese sage Chang Low's assistant) but instead of merely fulfilling his genre role as antagonist and villain, he brings a level of malevolence that elevelates his character to a whole other kind of grotesque not far from horror territory.

As is true for other films that Chaney received second billing, he's mostly in the opening and closing 15 minutes which are packed with explosive action. The middle deals with the mandatory romance between protagonist Molly Maddoc (played by the sashy Priscilla Dean who steals scenes) and Black Mike's right hand man Bill who double crosses his boss out of remorse and love for miss Maddoc. They spend the middle act holed up in an apartment after a successful jewel robbery, hiding from cops and Black Mike alike.

All in all Outside the Law is not a masterpiece of any kind but fans of silent films and especially Lon Chaney will find enough to appreciate.


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