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The Unholy Three (1930)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 12 July 1930 (USA)
"Talkie" remake of Tod Browning's 1925 silent film. A trio of former sideshow performers double as the "Unholy Three" in a scam to nab some shiny rocks.

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(from the book by) (as Clarence Aaron Robbins), (continuity and dialogue) | 1 more credit »
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Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A sideshow ventriloquist, midget, and strongman form a conspiracy known as "The Unholy Three" and commit a series of robberies.

Director: Tod Browning
Stars: Lon Chaney, Mae Busch, Matt Moore
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

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

Director: Tod Browning
Stars: Lon Chaney, Lionel Barrymore, Mary Nolan
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

When an animal trapper in Indo-China finds that his daughter's fiancé is being successfully seduced by her estranged mother, he takes appropriate action.

Director: Tod Browning
Stars: Lon Chaney, Lupe Velez, Estelle Taylor
The Unknown (1927)
Drama | Horror | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A criminal on the run hides in a circus and seeks to possess the daughter of the ringmaster at any cost.

Director: Tod Browning
Stars: Lon Chaney, Norman Kerry, Joan Crawford
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A professional clown and a self-indulgent count learn to help each other with their problems, but then become romantic rivals.

Director: Herbert Brenon
Stars: Lon Chaney, Bernard Siegel, Loretta Young
Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Dr. Henry Jekyll experiments with scientific means of revealing the hidden, dark side of man and releases a murderer from within himself.

Director: John S. Robertson
Stars: John Barrymore, Martha Mansfield, Brandon Hurst
Test Pilot (1938)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Jim is a test pilot. His wife Ann and best friend Gunner try their best to keep him sober. But the life of a test pilot is anything but safe.

Director: Victor Fleming
Stars: Clark Gable, Myrna Loy, Spencer Tracy
Horror | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A mad, disfigured composer seeks love with a lovely young opera singer.

Directors: Rupert Julian, Lon Chaney, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Lon Chaney, Mary Philbin, Norman Kerry
The Rink (1916)
Comedy | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

After causing restaurant chaos at work, a bumbling waiter tears up the local roller rink with his skating.

Director: Charles Chaplin
Stars: Charles Chaplin, Edna Purviance, James T. Kelley
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A gruff Marine sergeant and a handsome new recruit compete for the affection of a nurse.

Director: George W. Hill
Stars: Lon Chaney, William Haines, Eleanor Boardman
Fantasy | Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Boxer Joe Pendleton dies 50 years too soon due to a heavenly mistake, and is given a new life as a millionaire playboy.

Director: Alexander Hall
Stars: Robert Montgomery, Claude Rains, Evelyn Keyes
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A noblewoman discovers her husband is The Scarlet Pimpernel, a vigilante who rescues aristocrats from the blade of the guillotine.

Director: Harold Young
Stars: Leslie Howard, Merle Oberon, Raymond Massey
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Elliott Nugent ...
Harry Earles ...
John Miljan ...
Prosecuting Attorney
Ivan Linow ...
Clarence Burton ...
Crauford Kent ...
Defense Attorney
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Storyline

Professor Echo is a sideshow ventriloquist who recruits two sociopathic co-workers, Midge and Hercules, the show's midget and strong man respectively, into a burglary ring. Echo disguises himself as the elderly Mrs. O'Grady, the owner of a pet store, who sells talking parrots and mynah birds to a high-class clientèle with Hercules posing as his son-in-law married to Echo's pickpocket girlfriend Rosie and Midge passing as their infant son. Echo's ventriloquist skills initially convince the customers that their parrot can talk, but they're disappointed when they bring the mute bird home. A phone call of complaint brings Grandma O'Grady and her daughter's "baby" to the client's house to facilitate the bird's talking, an opportunity to case the house for a subsequent robbery by "The Unholy Three." Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

All Talking Picture See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

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Release Date:

12 July 1930 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A szentségtelen hármas  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lon Chaney's only sound film. See more »

Quotes

Jeweller: [Referring to one of the rubies] If that little rascal had swallowed it, we would have never recovered it.
Professor Echo, aka Mrs. 'Grandma' O'Grady: Oh, I would have recovered it all right.
Arlington: [to the jeweler] She means an emetic.
Jeweller: [They both laugh] What a sense of humor!
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Connections

Referenced in The Devil's Rejects (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Introduction to Salammbô
(1920) (uncredited)
Music by Andrei Fedorov Arends
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User Reviews

The swan song of an artist
27 February 2000 | by (Cherry Hill, New Jersey) – See all my reviews

Make no mistake, Lon Chaney Sr. was one of the most talented and versatile actors in the history of American Film. And in this, his only completed sound film, he is brilliant. As Professor Echo he uses his own pleasant voice (William Holden's voice is a good comparison), while he effectively and believably changes his voice during his old lady disguise. One wonders if he knew he was terminally ill when he made this film. Several sound vehicles were planned for him: "Dracula" (Bela Lugosi became a star inheriting the Chaney part), "The Sea Bat" (Charles Bickford), "The Phantom of Paris" (John Gilbert), and "The Big House" and "The Bugle Sounds" (Wallace Beery, the former establishing him in sound films.). One can only wonder how any of these films would have been if Chaney had lived to complete them.

But Chaney's is not the only good performance here. Lila Lee and future director-screenwriter Elliott Nugent are both good as the young lovers, the former's scenes with Chaney being some of the best in the picture. And, just as much as he did in the silent version, midget Harry Earles conveys pure menace as the depraved dwarf Tweedledee, although a combination of early sound equipment and his thick German accent make many of his lines all but incomprehensible. Reducing that accent by half, he would do impressive work in "Freaks" and, of course, "The Wizard of Oz" later in the decade. The only other roles of any size fall to veteran character men Clarence Burton and John Miljan, and they prove themselves more than up to the task.

Probably the only way anyone will get to see this film, until MGM decides to release it on video, is on Turner Classic Movies, which is where I saw it recently. If you do see it, you're in for a rare treat.


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