Oliver's mother, a penniless outcast, died giving birth to him. As a young boy Oliver is brought up in a workhouse, later apprenticed to an uncaring undertaker, and eventually is taken in ... See full summary »
James A. Marcus,
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 »
Mike Morgan creates the illusions that magicians use in their shows. While his business is Miracles for Sale, his hobby is exposing fake spiritualists. At the club, he is invited to attend ... See full summary »
Jim Bludso is engineer of the Mississippi River packet the "Prairie Belle." He has a home in Gilgal, Ill., and a wife and twelve-month-old baby at the time the story opens, in 1861. A call ... See full summary »
Achmet Bey, a Turkish chieftain, catches one of his many wives in adultery and murders her lover. Throwing aside the cuckolding wife, he abducts his harem an innocent girl. However, a brave... See full summary »
On the run from punishment for a crime committed by his brother, Bertie Cecil (alias Lewis Victor) joins the French Foreign Legion. In Algeria, he becomes the hated rival of his commander, ... See full summary »
'Tiger' Haynes is a respected trapper of jungle beasts for zoos and circuses and a doting father to his beautiful young daughter Toyo. When he finds out that she's fallen in love with Bobby Bailey, the son of a wealthy circus owner he frequently deals with, Haynes is initially suspicious of the young man's motives. However, Bailey's sincerity soon wins him over, and they take the river boat to Saigon together to see the young man's father. While on board Bobby meets the femme fatale cougar, Mme. de Sylva, who immediately desires the young man and easily seduces him. In reality, she is Toyo's mother and a notoriously predatory seductress. Tiger adamantly insinuates himself between de Sylva and her latest conquest and seemingly breaks up the romance and returns home to oversee Toyo and Bobby's wedding, but Toyo's mother unexpectedly arrives with the objective of vamping Bobby. In order to avoid having Toyo's heart broken by her mother, Tiger resorts to the 'law of the jungle.' Written by
This film is so easy to watch and enjoy, Lupe Velez is a great under-rated actress and such an expert at pantomime (when she is happy, the viewer is happy, when she is sad, the viewer is sad). It could have been filmed with synchronous sound, but it is superb as a silent with some subtle sound effects. Lupe's eyes and body poses tell all her emotions, and her smile is so charming when it blossoms on screen into laughter. Lon Chaney is, well, um Lon Chaney, but there are some strange seamy undertones of incest with his jealous protection of Lupe (playing his daughter, Toyo) particularly when he pretends to be a tiger crouching on the floor and growling at Toyo whose laughter turns to tears as she rushes into his lap to cry and says she does "not want to play". Estelle Taylor as the absentee mother is sultry, seductive and gorgeous, her exotic costumes are extensions of her character. The surprise is that Lupe (the STAR) does not have any fantastic gowns to wear, not even at her own engagement dinner party. The scene with the enraged gorilla walking up the stairs to find her mother is chilling. Seems like the gorilla's eyes were visually enhanced, they shone with anger! You knew something awful would happen when the gorilla went insane when the mother showed up unexpectedly at the house. (Only Lon Chaney could have a caged pet African gorilla in Asia). A woman servant in the house prayed for the ancestors to remove the evil - that woman was the sweeter counterpart of the mother's personal maid who constantly betrays her. I kept waiting for the gorilla to get loose and I was not surprised. Reminds me of the climactic scenes at the end of "FREAKS" .. you never see the horrible brutality being committed, but you can easily imagine it. Estelle's wide open eyes were the same as Olga Baclanova's eyes in the rain before she was "chickenized". From start to finish the viewer correctly imagines the conclusion of all events, but you want to keep watching, and congratulate yourself for being right. This is film as art. This is very much a TOD BROWNING film.
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