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West of Zanzibar (1928)

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



(as Elliott Clawson), (play) (as Chester Devonde) | 3 more credits »

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Complete credited cast:
Jacqueline Gadsdon ...
Anna (as Jacqueline Gadsden)
Tiny Ward ...
Tiny (as Roscoe Ward)
Kalla Pasha ...
Curtis Nero ...


Magician Phroso's wife Anna leaves him for another man, named Crane, who fights with Phroso and leaves him paralyzed. Later Anna returns and he finds her dead, leaving behind a daughter. For 18 years Phroso, known as "Dead Legs" by his cronies, plots his revenge, becoming a pseudo-king in East Africa, nearby where Crane has set up an ivory business. When the daughter is grown, having lived in a brothel in Zanzibar thanks to "Dead Legs", Phroso put his plan into action, resulting in revenge and retribution all around. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A story of love and revenge in the African jungles! See more »


Drama | Mystery


TV-G | See all certifications »




Release Date:

24 November 1928 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Gesetz des Kongo  »

Box Office


$259,000 (estimated)


$921,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (New York opening) (premiere)

Sound Mix:

(MovieTone) (musical score and sound effects)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The play, "Kongo", opened in New York on 30 March 1926. See more »


In the notes in the MGM laser disc released in 1993, the character "Dead Legs" is erroneously referred to as "Daddy Legs". See more »


[first lines]
Phroso 'Dead-Legs': Ashes to ashes! Dust to dust!
See more »

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User Reviews

Another Triumph From Mr. Lon Chaney
7 October 2001 | by (Forest Ranch, CA) – See all my reviews

Somewhere WEST OF ZANZIBAR, a crippled magician insanely plots revenge on the ivory hunter who ruined his life...

Lon Chaney dominates this fascinatingly bizarre little silent movie. More than just a ‘horror actor,' Chaney was a consummate craftsman who, here using a minimum of makeup, could sway an audience with the slightest facial twinge or glance from his haunted eyes. Completely convincing as a cripple, dragging his dead legs behind him across the floor, he becomes more a monstrous aberration than a human being.

Lionel Barrymore, Warner Baxter & lovely Mary Nolan all give excellent performances in supporting roles, but this is really Chaney's picture all the way. The fine production values , courtesy of MGM, only enhance its star's dominance of the medium.

With Tod Browning, Chaney's frequent collaborator, as director, it is fascinating to speculate how much Chaney's physical performance here later influenced Browning's vision in his masterwork, FREAKS (1932).

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