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Man of a Thousand Faces (1957)

 |  Biography, Drama  |  October 1957 (USA)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 1,745 users  
Reviews: 41 user | 29 critic

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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Title: Man of a Thousand Faces (1957)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Hazel Bennet Chaney
Marjorie Rambeau ...
Gert
...
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
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Storyline

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 <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Only Two Women Knew The Secret Behind Lon Chaney, The Fabulous Man Of A Thousand Faces! See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

October 1957 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Der Mann mit den 1000 Gesichtern  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film opens at a memorial for Chaney at the Lon Chaney sound stage. The camera pulls in to a closeup of the plaque that designates the building. The face on the plaque is that of James Cagney not Lon Chaney. This was done because Cagney and Chaney looked nothing alike. See more »

Goofs

This movie's depiction of Chaney's makeup for "Phantom of the Opera" is very misleading. The movie's version shows Chaney's face unrecognizable and nearly immobile behind elaborate full latex appliances. Chaney was actually proud of his ability to distort his appearance using only a minimum of makeup - in this case basically thin wires in his nose and around his eyes, false teeth and dark paint around his eyes and nostrils. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

References He Who Gets Slapped (1924) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
At times rather inaccurate but still entertaining.
30 August 2011 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

"Loosely based....". When I hear this about a bio-pic, it is a complete turnoff to me. I think some it was because I was a history teacher--and to me, history is sacred--you tell it exactly like it was. Yet, in so many Hollywood films, the truth isn't deemed interesting enough and they heavily embellish the picture. Thus is the story of Lon Chaney in "The Man of a Thousand Faces". While the main points are correct, Chaney's interesting life just wasn't interesting enough for the folks at Universal and they played fast and loose with some of the facts. I didn't like this--but must acknowledge that it was an entertaining story.

However, there is one other issue about the film about which I have a unique perspective. Like Chaney, I have a deaf family member--in my case, my daughter. And because of this, I can talk about a few things the average viewer wouldn't notice. When the people are using sign language in the film, they really are using sign language--though they do it a bit poorly. As a result, you can see that the parents of Chaney in the film are not natural signers--but I appreciate that they tried. One thing I did not appreciate, however, is that the film seemed to exploit Chaney's parents--creating problems that did not exist in real life. For example, when Chaney's first wife meets them, she has no idea they are deaf--but this was NOT the case in real life and it just felt cheap--like they were capitalizing on their deafness for the sake of a plot gimmick. That was pretty sad.

Aside from my complaints and observations, I still think this is a very good film. Just understand it all is heavily dramatized and you can take some of it with a grain of salt. Also, it was nice to see the silent comic Snub Pollard in a bit scene midway through the film.


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Message Boards

Recent Posts
Lon Chaney Sr. deserves a new/better bio-pic! gillmanfan2000
make-up montage? wencer
Will the copyright holders please listen to the fans of Chaney + Cagney john-kelly-3
Cagney good.. movie dreadful beverlyamason
credits pla725
Lon Chaney, Jr. casting-:) albawhall
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