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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
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
Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

The abandoned home of a wealthy man who supposedly committed suicide five years earlier is taken over by ghoulish figures - could they be vampires?

Director: Tod Browning
Stars: Lon Chaney, Marceline Day, Henry B. Walthall
The Penalty (1920)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A deformed criminal mastermind plans to loot the city of San Francisco as well as revenge himself on the doctor who mistakenly amputated his legs.

Director: Wallace Worsley
Stars: Charles Clary, Doris Pawn, Jim Mason
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
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In fifteenth century Paris, the brother of the archdeacon plots with the gypsy king to foment a peasant revolt. Meanwhile, a freakish hunchback falls in love with the gypsy queen.

Director: Wallace Worsley
Stars: Lon Chaney, Patsy Ruth Miller, Norman Kerry
Thunder (1929)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
Director: William Nigh
Stars: Lon Chaney, Phyllis Haver, James Murray
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
Certificate: Passed Drama | Horror | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An escaped convict uses miniaturized humans to wreak vengeance on those that framed him.

Director: Tod Browning
Stars: Lionel Barrymore, Maureen O'Sullivan, Frank Lawton
Horror
    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
Mad Love (1935)
Certificate: Passed Horror | Romance | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An insane surgeon's obsession with an actress leads him to replace her husband's hands with the hands of a knife murderer which still have the urge to throw knives.

Director: Karl Freund
Stars: Peter Lorre, Frances Drake, Colin Clive
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Cast

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Prosecuting Attorney
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Clarence Burton ...
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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:

He conquers the dialog screen with FIVE voices in this amazing NEW production! (Print Ad) 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

Rosie O'Grady: [Both are laughing] Why, I... I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
[She laughs again and so does he]
Professor Echo, aka Mrs. 'Grandma' O'Grady: Well, why - why not do a little of both? You know the old gag. That's all there is to life. A little laughter... a little tear.
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Connections

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

Soundtracks

Sweet Rosie O'Grady
(1896) (uncredited)
Written by Maude Nugent
Sung a cappella by Lon Chaney through his dummy
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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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