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The Big City (1928)

Rivalry between two gangs of thieves. The sympathetic group reforms: the others are brought to justice.



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Complete credited cast:
Chuck Collins
Matthew Betz ...
The Arab
Virginia Pearson ...
Walter Percival ...
Lew Short ...
Eddie Sturgis ...


Rivalry between two gangs of thieves. The sympathetic group reforms: the others are brought to justice.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

criminal | See All (1) »


Lon Chaney gives his most effective performance now as the underworld leader in this throbbing film production. A sputter of bullets in the dark...a battle of crook against crook...and the flowering of a beautiful romance in this amazing setting. See more »






Release Date:

24 March 1928 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das unsichtbare New-York  »

Box Office


$175,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This is considered a lost film. Please check your attic. See more »

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User Reviews

Lost Lon Chaney
14 July 2015 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

All sources say this is a lost film, however one reel survives at the Cinémathèque Francaise in France. I hope the reader enjoys this lengthy synopsis.

At a local night club, Tennessee, a popular singer, is doing her number while Red Watson's gang is planning to hold the place up. Chuck Collins ( Lon Chaney ), another local hood, is spotted in the club, and Red wonders if he is wise to their plan. Two of the dancers, wearing masks, pull out guns and demand everyone's jewels. Later, Red and his gang are waiting for their partners to return with the jewels, when they discover their supposed accomplices tied up in a closet. In his Harlem hideout, the Black Bottom Cabaret, Chuck is looking over the jewels from the robbery along with his pals Curly, Blinkie, and Chuck's girl, Helen ( Betty Compson ). Helen runs a sewing and mending shop as a front for the gang's operations. Sunshine ( Marceline Day ), a sweet girl who works in the shop, has no idea what is going on, and when Grogan and O'Hara, two detectives, pop in to see Chuck, she nearly uncovers the pearls they are hiding there. Later, at the Black Bottom, Sunshine tries to get Curly interested in her, but he is more interested in the gaudy cabaret girls. The detectives learn that Chuck has the stolen jewels, but decide to wait before making an arrest. They follow Red to the Black Bottom, where Red demands that Chuck turn over the loot. The police break in and arrest everyone, including Sunshine, but Chuck and Curly escape. Chuck hides out with Helen, and when Sunshine is released 10 days later, she comes home to find that her father has died. While Helen goes off looking for the girl, Sunshine comes to her room and finds Chuck. As he holds her in his arms comforting her, Helen returns, and although Sunshine tells her there is nothing between them, Helen is suspicious. While Helen and Chuck are asleep, Curly comes by and forces himself on Sunshine, but Chuck enters and knocks him out. Curly comes to with Sunshine wiping the blood from his face. Chuck begins to have second thoughts about the robbery. Helen taunts him about finding religion and tells Sunshine that they were all in on the robbery. Chuck has fallen for Sunshine, who convinces him to return the jewels. Curly and Chuck are arguing over returning the jewels when Red appears and takes the loot. Chuck and Curly follow Red to his hideout, and while they argue over the jewels, two officers come, take the jewels, and arrest Chuck and Curly. When Red looks through the keyhole, he sees the "officers," in reality two of Chuck's pals, take off their uniforms and leave with Chuck. Chuck returns the jewels and tells the police he is going straight. Curly proposes to Sunshine, and Chuck is hurt when he hears the news, but wishes the couple well. Returning home, he tells Helen he is going to marry her. As she runs off to get dressed, he yells, "Wait a minute! I ain't gonna buy you nothing'...I'm just gonna marry you!"

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