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The Unholy Three (1925)

Passed  -  Crime | Drama | Romance  -  16 August 1925 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,045 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 17 critic

A sideshow ventriloquist, midget, and strongman form a conspiracy known as "The Unholy Three" and commit a series of robberies.

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(story) (as Tod Robbins) , (scenario)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Matt Moore ...
...
Harry Earles ...
Matthew Betz ...
Edward Connelly ...
Judge
William Humphrey ...
Attorney for Defense (as William Humphreys)
E. Alyn Warren ...
Prosecuting Attorney (as A.E. Warren)
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Storyline

Three sideshow performers leave their lives of captivity and become "The Unholy Three." Echo the ventriloquist assumes the role of a kindly old grandmother who runs a bird shop. Tweedledee, the "twenty inch man," becomes her grandbaby, and Hercules is their assistant. Soon an incredible crime wave is launched from their little store. Written by David Ezell <dezell@cody.gac.peachnet.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 August 1925 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Trindade Maldita  »

Box Office

Budget:

$103,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$704,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(alternate)

Sound Mix:

Color:

| (tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the scene where Echo and company are fleeing the pet store, Echo decides to take his pet ape with them. The "Ape" was actually a three-foot-tall chimp who was made to appear gigantic with camera trickery, an especially built smaller scale set to make it look bigger, and perspective shots. When Echo removes the ape from his cage, the shot shows Echo (with his back turned to the camera) unlocking the cage and walking the ape to the truck. The ape appears to be roughly the same size as Echo. This effect was achieved by having dwarf actor Harry Earles (who played "Tweedledee" in the film) play Echo for these brief shots, and then cutting to the normal sized Lon Chaney, making it seems as though the Ape is gigantic. See more »

Goofs

For a couple of shots when Echo & The Kid are at Mr. Arlington's house, Harry Earles (the actor playing The Kid) accidentally left his wedding ring on his finger. See more »

Quotes

Dime Museum Announcer: [introducing Hercules] Here! The mighty... marvelous... mastodonic model of muscular masculinity!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Tod Browning's 'Freaks': The Sideshow Cinema (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Browning Version
26 October 2009 | by (Earth) – See all my reviews

In an effort to make more money than they do as traveling carnival show attractions, velvet-voiced ventriloquist Lon Chaney (as Echo), baby-impersonating dwarf Harry Earles (as Tweedledee), and strongman Victor McLaglen (as Hercules) team up to form a gang of jewel thieves who call themselves "The Unholy Three". The crooked trio begins operating out of a bird shop run by Mr. Chaney, posing as sweet "Granny O'Grady", mother of pickpocket and gang moll Mae Busch (as Rosie). The front works like a charm, but Ms. Busch attracts the attention of straight-flying Matt Moore (as Hector), who forms a "love triangle" with Chaney.

Then, an unexpected murder brings further unwelcome advances... from the police.

This was re-made as Chaney's first - and only, unhappily - sound feature, in 1930. Of the many Chaney hits, "The Unholy Three" seemed like the most obvious one to improve with sound; and, Chaney's performance in both is stellar. While the later version has problems, Chaney enhanced his already incredible performance. In this one, frequent collaborator/director Tod Browning is definitely an asset. Also remarkable is Mr. Earle, who hadn't mastered English for the re-make, but seemed fine by "Freaks" (1932); his wicked, cigar-smoking baby is classic.

"The Unholy Three" (1925) was honored as one of its year's best pictures at "Film Daily" (#2), Motion Picture Magazine (#3), and The New York Times (#3) - after winners "The Gold Rush", "The Big Parade", and "The Last Laugh". At Motion Picture, Chaney's individual performance ranked third (after "Best Actor" Emil Jannings and runner-up John Gilbert). The film is perversely appealing - which was then, and is now, a Chaney/Browning hallmark.

******** The Unholy Three (8/16/25) Tod Browning ~ Lon Chaney, Mae Busch, Harry Earles, Matt Moore


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