Oliver's mother, a penniless outcast, died giving birth to him. As a young boy Oliver is brought up in a workhouse, later apprenticed to an uncaring undertaker, and eventually is taken in ... See full summary »
James A. Marcus,
The original play opened in New York on 9 August 1922 and had 101 performances. Walter James originated his movie role as Calaban in the play. In the 1933 revival, DeWolf Hopper Sr. played Dr. Ziska. See more »
When Johnnie flies out of the door, into the rainstorm again, you can see the wire that holds him, right when he is crushing into Rigo. See more »
The best known name in this is, of course, Lon Chaney, who plays Dr. Ziska - a mad scientist who has taken over a sanitarium and is performing experiments on poor unfortunates. The bulk of the movie, though, is carried by an actor named Johnny Arthur. He seems to have had a relatively lengthy (if not especially well known) career, that made the crossover from silents to talkies. This is a silent movie, of course, and Arthur was fine as a wannabe detective who's out to solve the mystery of a wealthy farmer who mysteriously disappeared one night.
"The Monster" tried perhaps a bit too hard to be a combination comedy/suspense thriller. Some, I guess, would call it a horror movie, but it never really came across that way to me. In fact, the comedy elements seemed to predominate for the most part. It's irreverent and even at times slapstick in its approach. It uses the pretty standard setting of what seems to be more of a large house than a sanitarium to create a mystery - and, while at times it is mysterious, it never really (to me at least) became frightening, nor did the humour become truly funny. It caused a smile every now and then, I suppose. My biggest criticism would be that it took far too long (really until about the last 10-15 minutes of the movie) for us to get a real sense of what it was that Dr. Ziska was up to, and waiting for that became at times rather tiresome, as likable as all the main characters were.
Chaney, who received top billing although his role was secondary (and maybe even less than that) did make Ziska mysterious and in some respects even threatening. The other primary members of the cast were Gertrude Olmstead as Betty, the wannabe detective's love interest, and Hallam Cooley, as his rival for Betty's affection. This was OK. Nothing more than that. I wouldn't consider it a silent classic, although it isn't difficult to watch. (4/10)
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