IMDb > The Unknown (1927)
The Unknown
Quicklinks
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
Overview
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
Promotional
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

The Unknown (1927) More at IMDbPro »

Photos (See all 17 | slideshow)

Overview

User Rating:
7.9/10   4,606 votes »
Your Rating:
Saving vote...
Deleting vote...
/10   (delete | history)
Sorry, there was a problem
MOVIEmeter: ?
Up 28% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Director:
Writers:
Tod Browning (story)
Waldemar Young (scenario)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for The Unknown on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
4 June 1927 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
A criminal on the run hides in a circus and seeks to possess the daughter of the ringmaster at any cost. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Awards:
2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Another Chaney Love Triangle! See more (94 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Lon Chaney ... Alonzo
Norman Kerry ... Malabar

Joan Crawford ... Nanon
Nick De Ruiz ... Zanzi
John George ... Cojo
Frank Lanning ... Costra
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Louise Emmons ... Gypsy Woman (uncredited)
Italia Frandi ... Girl in Audience Flirting with Malabar (uncredited)
Venezia Frandi ... (unconfirmed) (uncredited)
Julian Rivero ... Man in Audience (uncredited)
Billy Seay ... The Little Wolf (uncredited)
John St. Polis ... Surgeon (uncredited)
Create a character page for: ?

Directed by
Tod Browning 
 
Writing credits
Tod Browning (story)

Waldemar Young (scenario)

Joseph Farnham (titles) (as Joe Farnham)

Mary Roberts Rinehart  novel "K" (uncredited)

Cinematography by
Merritt B. Gerstad (photography) (as M. Gerstad)
 
Film Editing by
Harry Reynolds (film editor)
Errol Taggart (film editor)
 
Set Decoration by
Richard Day (settings)
Cedric Gibbons (settings)
 
Stunts
Paul Desmuke .... stunt double (uncredited)
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Clarence Sinclair Bull .... still photographer (uncredited)
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Lucia Coulter .... wardrobe
 
Music Department
Jack Feinberg .... set musician (uncredited)
Sam Feinberg .... set musician (uncredited)
 
Crew believed to be complete


Production CompaniesDistributors
Create a character page for: ?

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Runtime:
63 min (23 fps) | UK:49 min (BFI print) | USA:49 min (alternate version)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:

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:
Continuity: During the scene where we fist meet Alonzo and he is throwing knives with his feet, the shot shows the girl against the board and there are no knives. It cuts to Alonzo throwing and when it goes back to the girl to see the impact there are knives in a silhouette around her.See more »
Quotes:
Malabar the Mighty, Circus Strongman:You are a riddle, Nanon. You shrink from me... yet you kiss my flowers when I am gone.See more »
Movie Connections:

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
6 out of 7 people found the following review useful.
Another Chaney Love Triangle!, 18 November 2003
Author: (bsmith5552@rogers.com) from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

"The Unknown" returns to a theme common in many of Lon Chaney's films, that of a man hopelessly in love with a woman he can never have.

Alonzo, the armless man is performing in a gypsy circus as a sharpshooter/knife thrower working with the lovely Nanon (Joan Crawford) as his assistant. He is of course in love with her. Rounding out the triangle is circus strong man Malabar (Norman Kerry) who is also in love with Nanon. Nanon it seems cannot bear to have a man's hands touch her (Joan Crawford?).

Alonzo is not what he seems to be. It turns out that he is a fugitive on the run and it is revealed that he actually does have arms and has created the armless man to hide a deformity that would identify him as the criminal the police are seeking. And given that Nanon cannot stand for a man to touch her, she repels Malabar's advances and places her trust in Alonzo.

Nanon's father, Zanzi (Nick DeRuiz) wants his daughter to stay away from Alonzo and confronts him on the issue one night. Zanzi discovers Alonzo's secret so Alonzo murders him. Alonzo then re-confirms his intention to marry Nanon. Alonzo's trusted friend Cojo (John George) points out to Alonzo that should he marry Nanon, she would surely discover that he has arms on their wedding night. So, Alonzo sure that Nanon will marry him, arranges to have his arms amputated.

When Alonzo returns from his ordeal he discovers that Nanon has gotten over her fear of men's hands and now plans to marry Malabar. Alonzo devastated, plots his revenge.

Chaney plays an unsympathetic character in this film, so much so that he doesn't evoke the usual audience pity that he had in other films. His scenes as the armless man are outstanding and the things he does with his feet are truly amazing. And he could express so much emotion with just his facial expressions. Crawford was just getting her career into going and went on to a lengthy career spanning over 40 years. Kerry had also appeared with Chaney in both "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (1923) and "The Phantom of the Opera" (1925). The running time of the film varies depending on your sources. The version I saw runs about 50 minutes. The Citadel Book, "The Films of Joan Crawford" lists it at 65 minutes. IMDb lists running times of 61 and 49 minutes respectively. Despite the short running time it nevertheless presents a complete and riveting story. I would like to know what was cut out though.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (94 total) »

Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for The Unknown (1927)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Cover Art Not Accurate xmaseve49
Anyone know wher e i can buy this? homeofleia
I saw it on TCM last night... drdebacle
masterpiece masterpiece masterpiece rflock
See more »

Recommendations

If you enjoyed this title, our database also recommends:
- - - - -
Suspicion Greed The Secret of Treasure Island Gone with the Wind Spider-Man 3
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
IMDb User Rating:
Show more recommendations

Related Links

Full cast and crew Company credits External reviews
News articles IMDb Drama section IMDb USA section

You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.