MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 3,662 this week

The Unknown (1927)

 -  Drama | Horror | Romance  -  4 June 1927 (USA)
7.9
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.9/10 from 4,558 users  
Reviews: 93 user | 38 critic

A criminal on the run hides in a circus and seeks to possess the daughter of the ringmaster at any cost.

Director:

Writers:

(story), (scenario), 2 more credits »
0Check in
0Share...

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 46 titles
created 07 Sep 2011
 
a list of 29 titles
created 02 Jul 2012
 
a list of 35 titles
created 6 months ago
 
a list of 27 titles
created 4 months ago
 
a list of 33 titles
created 3 months ago
 

Related Items

Search for "The Unknown" on Amazon.com

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Unknown (1927)

The Unknown (1927) on IMDb 7.9/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Unknown.
2 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A magician seeks vengeance upon the man who paralyzed him and the illegitimate daughter he sired with the magician's wife.

Director: Tod Browning
Stars: Lon Chaney, Lionel Barrymore, Mary Nolan
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

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

Director: Tod Browning
Stars: Lon Chaney, Mae Busch, Matt Moore
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A romantic rivalry among members of a secret society becomes even tenser when one of the men is assigned to carry out an assassination.

Director: Wallace Worsley
Stars: Lon Chaney, Leatrice Joy, John Bowers
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In fifteenth century Paris, the brother of the archdeacon plots with the gypsy king to foment a peasant revolt. Meanwhile, a freakish hunchback falls in love with the gypsy queen.

Director: Wallace Worsley
Stars: Lon Chaney, Patsy Ruth Miller, Norman Kerry
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

When an animal trapper in Indo-China finds that his daughter's fiancé is being successfully seduced by her estranged mother, he takes appropriate action.

Director: Tod Browning
Stars: Lon Chaney, Lupe Velez, Estelle Taylor
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A mad, disfigured composer seeks love with a lovely young opera singer.

Directors: Rupert Julian, Lon Chaney, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry
The Penalty (1920)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A deformed criminal mastermind plans to loot the city of San Francisco as well as revenge himself on the doctor who mistakenly amputated his legs.

Director: Wallace Worsley
Stars: Charles Clary, Doris Pawn, Jim Mason
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

When a proud noble refuses to kiss the hand of the despotic King James in 1690, he is cruelly executed and his son surgically disfigured.

Director: Paul Leni
Stars: Mary Philbin, Conrad Veidt, Julius Molnar
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

"Talkie" remake of Tod Browning's 1925 silent film. A trio of former sideshow performers double as the "Unholy Three" in a scam to nab some shiny rocks.

Director: Jack Conway
Stars: Lon Chaney, Lila Lee, Elliott Nugent
Certificate: Passed Crime | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In this early collaboration with director Tod Browning (Dracula, Freaks), Chaney delivers a dual performance of dramatic intensity, starring as Ah Wing, a kind-hearted student of Confucian ... See full summary »

Director: Tod Browning
Stars: Priscilla Dean, Wheeler Oakman, Lon Chaney
The Big City (1928)
Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Director: Tod Browning
Stars: Lon Chaney, Marceline Day, James Murray
Certificate: Passed Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

When a nobleman is murdered, a professor of the occult blames vampires; but not all is what it seems.

Director: Tod Browning
Stars: Lionel Barrymore, Elizabeth Allan, Bela Lugosi
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Alonzo
Norman Kerry ...
Malabar
...
Nanon
Nick De Ruiz ...
Zanzi
John George ...
Frank Lanning ...
Edit

Storyline

Alonzo is an armless knife thrower and gun shooter for a circus---or so he appears. He is actually a burglar with his arms intact. He and his accomplice, Cojo (a little person), are hiding from the police, and Alonzo views his disguise as perfect, especially since it keeps from view an unusual deformity of his left hand that would immediately give him away as the burglar. Nanon, the daughter of the circus owner, is the target in his act. Although Alonzo is in love with her, Nanon's father despises him. Nanon is attracted to Malabar, the circus strong man, but she is also repulsed by his uninhibited sexual advances and desire to touch and hold her. Apparently her phobia extends to the touch of any man. Alonzo feeds her fears in the hopes that Nanon will fall in love with him since he is "armless." Because Zanzi discovers Alonzo really has arms, Alonzo kills him, but Nanon witnesses the killing without seeing Alonzo's face; however, she does see the telltale deformity of his left hand. ... Written by Patrick Robbins <elfdorado@sbcglobal.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

love | circus | surgery | murderer | surgeon | See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

4 June 1927 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Alonzo the Armless  »

Box Office

Budget:

$217,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (BFI print) | (alternate)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Joan Crawford always considered The Unknown (1927) a big turning point for her. She said it wasn't until working with Lon Chaney in this film that she learned the difference between standing in front of a camera and acting in front of a camera. She said that was all due to Lon Chaney and his intense concentration, and after that experience she said she worked much harder to become a better actress. See more »

Goofs

When Alonzo and Cojo are drinking wine, the glass suddenly fills between shots. See more »

Quotes

Malabar the Mighty, Circus Strongman: Why do you always draw away from me?
Nanon Zanzi: Why isn't he different from other men! Why doesn't he keep his hands off me?
Nanon Zanzi: Hands! Men's hands! How I hate them!
Nanon Zanzi: Men! The beasts! God would show wisdom if he took the hands from all of them!
Nanon Zanzi: Forgive me, Alonzo... I did not mean you.
Nanon Zanzi: You are the one man I can come to without fear.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces (2000) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Chaney Masterpiece
20 June 2004 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

A circus performer ventures into THE UNKNOWN regions of fate when he allows love to be twisted by hatred.

Master actor Lon Chaney and his friend, acclaimed director Tod Browning, took their love of the macabre and fashioned this weirdly entertaining & suspenseful little silent film, made wonderful by Chaney's powerful over-the-top performance. Playing the armless wonder in a gypsy circus, Chaney's face is a casebook of emotions as he longs for the chieftain's daughter. After making a tremendous, indeed, outrageous, sacrifice for her, he discovers it is all an utter waste. Chaney's agony is horribly apparent as he feels his life crumble around him. The actor uses his superb physical conditioning to great effect, his feet as facile as any hands--the extreme punishment undergone to play the part enormously impressive.

In an important early film role, Joan Crawford is both sultry & disarming as the object of Chaney's desires; her intense neurotic phobia concerning men's hands certainly makes her character more interesting. Norman Kerry is affable & tender as the circus strong man who also loves Crawford. John George as Chaney's dwarf accomplice and Nick De Ruiz as the brutal circus chief are quite effective in their colorful roles.

MGM gave the film fine production values, especially in the circus scenes--a milieu dear to Chaney's heart.


29 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Anyone know wher e i can buy this? homeofleia
I saw it on TCM last night... drdebacle
masterpiece masterpiece masterpiece rflock
Cover Art Not Accurate xmaseve49
Discuss The Unknown (1927) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?