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,
Gunner and Bucker are pals who work as riveters. Whenever Bucker gets the urge to marry, which is often, Gunner will hit on his girl to see if she is true or not. So far, Gunner has not ... See full summary »
Fingers is planning a half-million-dollar bank robbery in gang boss Cobra Collins' territory. Fingers' moll Connie tries to bluff Cobra into thinking the hit won't be for another week when the call comes through saying it's now.
Strange tale permits Chaney to give memorable performance...
If it weren't for the acting technique of LON CHANEY, here deceiving others by assuming a dual role, THE BLACKBIRD would be a lot less interesting to discuss. The plot at first promises to be intriguing, but soon becomes bogged down in a story of petty jealousy between two crooked men for the affections of a pretty girl.
OWEN MOORE is the aristocratic looking gentleman thief in love with RENEE ADOREE, as is Chaney. One of the film's saving graces are the close-ups of Chaney glowering at Moore when he realizes he's winning the heart of the girl that both of them love. Chaney uses all of his facial mannerisms in a way that makes the screen titles almost unnecessary since he tells everything with his eyes and his body movements.
But the thin plot is the culprit here. Many scenes drag on too long without sufficient reason to and the plot is ultimately a weak one by any standards. Todd Browning does get a terrific performance from Chaney, though, and that's the chief reason for watching in the first place.
The tawdry atmosphere of the Limehouse London scenes is effective but the story's ending is a weakness.
Summing up: Highly watchable for Chaney alone.
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