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West of Zanzibar (1928)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 984 users  
Reviews: 27 user | 9 critic

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

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Title: West of Zanzibar (1928)

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
Doc
Jacqueline Gadsden ...
Anna
Tiny Ward ...
Tiny (as Roscoe Ward)
Kalla Pasha ...
Babe
Curtis Nero ...
Bumbu
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Storyline

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

Plot Keywords:

magician | revenge | brothel | africa | ivory | See more »

Taglines:

A story of love and revenge in the African jungles!

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 November 1928 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Das Gesetz des Kongo  »

Box Office

Budget:

$259,000 (estimated)

Gross:

$921,000 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(MovieTone) (musical score and sound effects)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To create the mud floor of Dead-Legs's hut, set-builders laid down a burlap base, then covered it with a mixture of paint and putty to create the desired consistency and appearance. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Edited into Kongo (1932) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Dark Tod Browning-Lon Chaney Collaboration
15 February 2004 | by (Washington, DC) – See all my reviews

Crippled during a confrontation with his wife's lover, Phroso, a famous English magician (Lon Chaney, Sr), vows to exact terrible revenge on wife and lover. A couple of year's later when the wife, fatally ill, returns to London with a young child, Phroso's plans are put into action. After she succumbs to her illness, Phroso emigrates to Africa with her child, where the wife's lover is an ivory trader, a vocation also undertaken by Phroso.

Now known as Dead-Legs he becomes the most feared and degenerate backcountry ivory trader west of Zanzibar. He raises his daughter, who he presumes is not his own, to be a drug-addicted prostitute. With his wife's child debased, he waits like a spider in his web for the man who cuckolded and then paralyzed him. Dark stuff, this.

It's a morbid although entertaining little tale, and Lon Chaney gives his usual top-notch performance, transitioning from the big-hearted Phroso to the crippled (in both body and sole) Dead-Legs. The movie is worth watching just for his performance. Tod Browning is in his element and delivers up a dark, creepy tale. So what that the plot twists are telegraphed from a mile away, and the portrayal of Africans is negatively stereotyped. If these shortcomings can be overlooked, this is a good example of the Browning-Chaney collaborations. Not bad for a silent film, which has a recorded soundtrack, coming as it did on the cusp of the transition to sound.


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