In this early collaboration with director Tod Browning (Dracula, Freaks), Chaney delivers a dual performance of dramatic intensity, starring as Ah Wing, a kind-hearted student of Confucian ... See full summary »
Lon Chaney, the silent movie star and makeup artist, renowned for his various characterizations and celebrated for his horror films, becomes the subject of this documentary. We learn of his deaf mute parents, his own long-delayed ability to talk and the origins of his expressive face and hands, which were to serve him so well in his career. He started as a touring stage actor where he met the singer, who became his first wife, and gave him the child who later became a lesser horror star on his own. Lon Chaney's early film roles lead to his first fame as a contortionist in "The Miracle Man," and then on to the horror roles, that are well remembered today, and to the varied character roles, that are still beloved of silent movie fans. Lung cancer ends his life, and we learn how the world reacted. Finally, there is a mysterious anecdote about Lon Chaney's tomb. Written by
Documentary on silent film star Lon Chaney. It shows his start in the movies back in the 1910s It seems he was born and raised by two deaf mutes...this goes a long way to explaining how he was able to convey so many emotions with his face and gestures. It chronicles his marriages (one produced his only child--Lon Chaney Jr.) and start in show business.
The docu is OK. It does stress that Chaney only did a few horror movies--although that is what he's known for today. It shows rare clips from his many lost films (over 100!) and from virtually all of his surviving ones. It's a great opportunity to see what a great actor Chaney was--but this is lacking. There's VERY little info about his personal life--some people say he was happy go lucky but all accounts I've heard of said he was a very cruel, violent man. There is some interview footage from Chaney Jr.s son talking about his grandfather but that's about it.
The movie consists mostly of footage from Chaney's films or talking heads--people like Ray Bradbury, Forrest Ackerman, Lon Chaney Jr. (in an old interview before his death), various cameraman and such who worked with him.
It's a good chronicle of Chaney's movies but VERY little about his personal life. I give it an 8.
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