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 »
Yen Sin, a humble Chinese, is washed ashore after a storm and finds himself an outsider in the deeply Christian fishing community of Urkey. Yen Sin elects to stay, despite his status as a despised 'heathen', only to reveal hypocrisy amid the self-righteous township. Written by
In a title card, the minister says it's been "over a year" since he learned that Daniel was still alive on the day his daughter was born, yet in the final scene the baby is no bigger than she was at birth. See more »
Another good Chaney performance in another mediocre movie
Chaney's performance as the chinese launderman is really the only thing lifting this film above the level of mediocre. Still, it provides a story with gothic overtones, albeit cliched ones. A woman (De La Motte, always competent) marries an evil seafarer who meets an early grave at sea; she marries the new town parson. But a jealous 3rd party convinces the parson that the first husband is still alive, blackmailing him in that man's name and driving him to stop sleeping with his wife (hence the gothic element of "true love thwarted"). It's up to Chaney, of course, to clear it all up and be "converted" (as usual, see "The Penalty") on his death-bed.
Chaney's make up is excellent, although not quite as astounding as his asian makeup for the later "Mr. Wu" (in which he appeared as 100 + years old). His playing is somewhat coy, in keeping with the tone of the film in general. As usual, we don't get to see as much of him as of the film's leading man, in this case the stolid Ford (slightly better than he usually is here).
Should be seen by Chaney fans, but may not be the best introduction to Chaney's art (as suggested by others) -- his gothic masterpieces being of course "The Unknown" and "He Who Gets Slapped" as well as the memorable "Unholy 3" and others. Unfortunately, this film ("Shadows") falls for me into the category of overblown films that feature excellent Chaney performances (such as "Phantom of the Opera" and "Hunchback of Notre Dame").
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