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 »
The end credits have a dedication to "Hugh M. Hefner". Hugh Marston Hefner of Playboy fame was born in 1926- the same year as The Blackbird's release. See more »
Want me to tell your Dad you're with a Chink?
[Young lady starts to cry]
Go 'ome and get that paint off your face!
[Kicks young lady in her behind as she leaves the vaudeville theater]
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Strange tale permits Chaney to give memorable performance...
If it weren't for the acting technique of LON CHANEY, here deceiving others by assuming a dual role, THE BLACKBIRD would be a lot less interesting to discuss. The plot at first promises to be intriguing, but soon becomes bogged down in a story of petty jealousy between two crooked men for the affections of a pretty girl.
OWEN MOORE is the aristocratic looking gentleman thief in love with RENEE ADOREE, as is Chaney. One of the film's saving graces are the close-ups of Chaney glowering at Moore when he realizes he's winning the heart of the girl that both of them love. Chaney uses all of his facial mannerisms in a way that makes the screen titles almost unnecessary since he tells everything with his eyes and his body movements.
But the thin plot is the culprit here. Many scenes drag on too long without sufficient reason to and the plot is ultimately a weak one by any standards. Todd Browning does get a terrific performance from Chaney, though, and that's the chief reason for watching in the first place.
The tawdry atmosphere of the Limehouse London scenes is effective but the story's ending is a weakness.
Summing up: Highly watchable for Chaney alone.
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