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 »
Good Melodrama With An Interesting Role For Chaney
While not nearly as well-remembered today as some of Lon Chaney's other films, "The Shock" is a good melodrama, and it gives Chaney a rather interesting role that shows he could give a convincing performance even without lavish disguises or costumes to work with. Here his character, Wilse Dilling, is a disabled career criminal who is forced by events to re-evaluate his life. Chaney gets good mileage out of his character's crutches and wheelchair, but more than that, he helps the viewer to see his dilemmas as he alternates between despair and hope.
The story is interesting and fairly involved. Wilse starts off under the thumb of the heartless crime boss "Queen Ann", who is using him as part of an elaborate scheme of crime and revenge. But Wilse softens as he gets to knows Ann's intended victims, and he soon becomes caught in the middle as a series of tumultuous events unfolds. Although the production is not of the same quality as in Chaney's best-known movies, it fits together pretty well, with only a couple of slow spots, and most fans of silent films should find it well worth watching.
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