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Lon Chaney: Behind the Mask (1996)

| Documentary, Biography
A documentary on the life and career of actor Lon Chaney, with clips from his films and interviews with people who knew him.

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He was known as The Man with a Thousand Faces and the player of the most famous monsters of the silent age of Hollywood, but there was far more to Lon Chaney Sr.'s life than that. This film covers the life and the extraordinary career of this seminal star of the silent screen from his childhood with deaf parents to rising to become a great cinematic legend. Defying the expectations of contemporary movie stardom, this consummate, yet intensely private, artist would define more than the horror genre with a consummate humanity under the grotesqueness of his characters. Written by Kenneth Chisholm (kchishol@rogers.com)

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Good Look at Chaney's Career
8 February 2013 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Lon Chaney: Behind the Mask (1996)

*** (out of 4)

Good documentary taking a look at the life and career of Lon Chaney. If you're unfamiliar with who Chaney is then this here will be a must-see for you as it does a great job at showing and telling one what made the actor so special then as well as today. We get clips from the majority of his movies that survived in 1996 and we even get some rare home movies that shows the actor off the movie set. Fans of the actor are really going to enjoy this documentary even though there are certainly some flaws along the way. One brief flaw is that it jumps around the time period quite a lot and I think it would have been been better how they told the story from one year to the next. I didn't like how they'd be talking about the late 20s and then quickly jump back to 1915 when Chaney directed some films. Special attention is given to the cripples that Chaney played throughout his career and we hear why he was attracted to these types of roles. We also get clips from films like BY THE SUN'S RAYS, THE SCARLET CAR, OLIVER TWIST, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME and several others. We even get a brief interview with Patsy Ruth Miller who acted with Chaney in HUNCHBACK. At 60-minutes the film does a nice job at giving on a look at the actor's career. Fans will probably already know all of this stuff and will have already seen all the movies so this here will mainly be for those wanting to see what Chaney was all about.


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