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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Lon Chaney plays duel roles in this crime melodrama from MGM. The Blackbird, a mastermind criminal and The Bishop, his crippled brother who is loved by everyone in the town. They're both the same person and the plan is to keep it that way but soon another criminal (Owen Moore) enters the picture as well as the love for a woman (Renee Adoree). I've know seen every Chaney feature that is currently not lost and I must say my appreciation of him as an actor has never been so high. I've always looked at him as one of the greatest actors in film history but after seeing this film I might go even further to call him the greatest actor in the silent era. It's really amazing at how brilliant this guy was and his acting abilities are on full display here. The viewer is the only one who knows that Chaney, playing both Blackbird and Bishop, are the same person yet like the characters in the film we forget because at how wonderful Chaney is. You could call this a Jekyll and Hyde type role as we're seeing good and evil and I'd probably say this is the greatest performance at that type of characters. How evil Chaney can come off and then how nice and holy is just amazing to watch and he really sells these characters perfectly. It's also rather amazing watching him play a cripple and deform his own body. Both Moore and Adoree add nice support but it's clear who this picture belongs to. Browning also should get a lot of credit because the screenplay here isn't too original nor is the love story that breaks out and controls most of the running time. While it's not original Browning does bring a lot of style to it and makes the movie flow like a stream. I've never been too fond of his sound features but I think his silents make him one of the most visual directors out there.
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