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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 »
Mysterious, sinister Wilse Dilling receives a coded message to go to the home of Queen Ann, a powerful crime boss. When Wilse meets with her, she sends him to the town of Fallbrook, where he is to await her instructions. Being practically wheelchair-bound has not stopped Dilling from committing a lengthy series of crimes, but to his surprise, he finds that the small town atmosphere makes him feel differently about everything. He finds a good friend in banker's daughter Gertrude Hadley, who helps him believe that he can make a fresh start. But Wilse's new-found contentment is soon shattered by a series of new developments. Written by
A Jewel Production. Universal, lacking a proprietary theater chain, devised a 3-tiered branding system to enable it to market its feature product to independent theater owners: Red Feather (low budget programmers), Bluebird (mainstream releases) and Jewel (prestige productions capable of drawing higher roadshow ticket prices). This branding system ended in late 1929. See more »
At about 43:05, Wilse is crossing a room in Anne's house. He moves his bad right foot which is paralyzed throughout the film. See more »
This film has a strong story and the 1906 San Francisco quake is well re created, mainly in miniature. The difficulty for me, as with several other Chaney films is that deformity and disability seem to be associated with criminality, though,of course, for many years this was deemed to be the case, just as disfigurement was assumed to lead to mental instability. Even though the story tells us that Wilse Dilling is capable of doing good, it makes it clear that this is against the normal run of his character. When the heroine is temporarily disabled by an accident, the other characters react as if this is a fate worse than death. Finally, Dilling's reward for his good deeds is to regain the use of his own crippled legs, thus making him worthy of the heroine and letting the audience know that all their physical shortcomings can be overcome, if only they really want it! It is interesting to note how film-makers of this period went for historical accuracy in terms of costume and scenery whereas in later years, glamour was seen as more important-compare the seedy shabbiness of "The Shock" with the elegance and brightness of "San Francisco"
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