Man of a Thousand Faces (1957)

 |  Biography, Drama  |  October 1957 (USA)
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The life and career of vaudevillian and silent screen horror star Lon Chaney, his contentious relationship with his neurotic wife, and his premature death.


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Nominated for 1 Oscar. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Hazel Bennet Chaney
Marjorie Rambeau ...
Clarence Locan
Irving Thalberg (as Robert J. Evans)
Mrs. Chaney
Jeanne Cagney ...
Carrie Chaney
Dr. J. Wilson Shields
Robert Lyden ...
Rickie Sorensen ...
Dennis Rush ...
Nolan Leary ...
Pa Chaney
Simon Scott ...
Carl Hastings


Loose biography of actor Lon Chaney. Growing up with deaf parents, he learns what it is like to be different. As an actor, he puts that knowledge (together with lots of make-up and talent) to use playing a variety of strange, unusual characters, adopting their characteristics so thoroughly as to be called the Man of a Thousand Faces. Written by Ken Yousten <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




Biography | Drama


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Release Date:

October 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Mann mit den 1000 Gesichtern  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


As with most biographical films, the script is a combination of fact and screenwriters' fancy. To give but two examples, Lon Chaney Jr. was not born in a hospital, but at his parents' then-home in Oklahoma City, as was common at the time. Further, Cleva Creighton Chaney was well aware, before her marriage to Lon Chaney, that his parents were hearing-impaired, and had already met them on several occasions. See more »


Chaney died in 1930. In one scene, however he drives up to his cabin in a 1937 Packard. See more »


[first lines]
Guard: Good morning, Mr. Thalberg.
Irving Thalberg: Good morning.
See more »


Referenced in The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004) See more »


Jingle Bells
Written by James Lord Pierpont (1857)
integrated into soundtrack when Chaney family reunites at Christmas
See more »

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User Reviews

A Cagney triumph
18 July 2005 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

It was interesting to see the difference of opinion of previous reviewers of Man of a Thousand Faces. I fall into the category of loving this particular film. I think it was James Cagney's finest piece of thespianism. How he was overlooked in the Oscar sweepstakes for this performance is beyond me.

It's so far from anything Cagney had ever done before. And he got to use all his talents, acting and musical, as the beginning had Lon Chaney on the vaudeville stage doing his pantomime act.

Lon Chaney's was born to deaf mute parents and learned to sign to communicate with them. That led to his interest in pantomime, a stage career in vaudeville and finally silent movies.

The film plays fast and loose with the facts of Chaney's life, but I think it captures the spirit of the man who created for the silent screen so many tortured souls.

Dorothy Malone and Jane Greer play wives one and two. Dorothy Malone had just come off an Oscar the year before in Written on the Wind. This is a marvelous followup part for an actress that for ten years was thought as little more than ornamental. Jane Greer is also good as the wise and patient second wife who knows she's playing second fiddle to the relationship of father and son.

Universal was Chaney's home studio and the studio approached the making of this picture with reverence and care for it's first great star.

12 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Lon Chaney Sr. deserves a new/better bio-pic! gillmanfan2000
make-up montage? wencer
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