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The Unknown (1927) Poster

(1927)

Trivia

Joan Crawford always considered The Unknown (1927) a big turning point for her. She said it wasn't until working with Lon Chaney in this film that she learned the difference between standing in front of a camera and acting in front of a camera. She said that was all due to Chaney and his intense concentration, and after that experience she said she worked much harder to become a better actress.
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Director Tod Browning loosely based the story on a real event of his circus days, where a man masqueraded as an acrobat to evade the police.
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As Paul Desmuke was born armless, he doubled for some shots of Lon Chaney where Desmuke used his feet for smoking or playing a fiddle.
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For many years this film only existed in murky 9.5mm dupes on the black market. In March 1973, at a screening of this film at George Eastman House, archivist James Card said that Henri Langlois and his staff at the Cinematheque Francais discovered a copy of it in 1968 among other miscellaneous cans of film marked "l'inconnu" (films "unknown" due to missing titles, etc.).
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In 2012 director Guy Maddin named this one of the ten best films ever made in the decennial "Sight & Sound" Directors Poll of the Greatest Films of All Time.
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Included among the '1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die', edited by Steven Jay Schneider.
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The only known surviving prints are missing about 14 minutes of footage, mainly from the film's first half and depicting Alonzo's criminal career.
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The re-release in Spain was only in Madrid (by Artistic Metropol) and only in subtitled version.
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