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 »
Lon Chaney plays Wilse Dilling, a cripple who gave into the enticements of crime long ago. Chaney is working for a ruthless woman in Chinatown in San Francisco and is sent to a small town to "keep his eyes open" and "make friends." There he is befriended by a kind young woman who tells him repeatedly that if the cause/dream is right than the will is enough to achieve it. Circumstances such as the young woman having a fiancée and her father the object of the ruthless woman in Chinatown make this one heck of an old-fashioned melodrama with Chaney giving a tour-de-force performance as a crippled criminal blind-sided by love and acts of kindness making him change. Chaney's features, particularly his face, give off such emotion and pathos that he can do so much with so little. The films has many exciting twists and turns culminating an a rather impressively staged earthquake. The Shock, while perhaps a bit hokey in plot, is yet again another example of just how good films were in the silent era and how performers such as Chey were not just the best of his generation but in the pantheon of all-time greats.
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