7.2/10
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34 user 18 critic

West of Zanzibar (1928)

A magician seeks vengeance upon the man who paralyzed him and the illegitimate daughter he sired with the magician's wife.

Director:

Tod Browning

Writers:

Elliott J. Clawson (as Elliott Clawson), Chester M. De Vonde (play) (as Chester Devonde) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Lon Chaney ... Phroso
Lionel Barrymore ... Crane
Mary Nolan ... Maizie
Warner Baxter ... Doc
Jacqueline Gadsdon ... Anna
Tiny Ward Tiny Ward ... Tiny (as Roscoe Ward)
Kalla Pasha Kalla Pasha ... Babe
Curtis Nero Curtis Nero ... Bumbu
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Storyline

Magician Phroso's wife Anna leaves him for another man, named Crane, who fights with Phroso and leaves him paralyzed. Later Anna returns and he finds her dead, leaving behind a daughter. For 18 years Phroso, known as "Dead Legs" by his cronies, plots his revenge, becoming a pseudo-king in East Africa, nearby where Crane has set up an ivory business. When the daughter is grown, having lived in a brothel in Zanzibar thanks to "Dead Legs", Phroso put his plan into action, resulting in revenge and retribution all around. Written by Ron Kerrigan <mvg@whidbey.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gin | brandy | cigar | magician | revenge | See All (26) »

Taglines:

There's only one Chaney, and here he is at his best! never has a Chaney picture failed to come up to high expectations. (Print Ad-The Frontier, ((O'Neill, Nebr.)) 4 April 1929) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the night trail scene, American alligators are shown swimming in the river instead of crocodiles. See more »

Goofs

When the natives are crossing the river with the ivory tusks and Tiny appears as the evil spirit, they drop the tusks and run. The tusks float on the water. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Phroso 'Dead-Legs': Ashes to ashes! Dust to dust!
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Alternate Versions

MGM also released this move without any soundtrack. See more »

User Reviews

 
Another Triumph From Mr. Lon Chaney
7 October 2001 | by Ron OliverSee all my reviews

Somewhere WEST OF ZANZIBAR, a crippled magician insanely plots revenge on the ivory hunter who ruined his life...

Lon Chaney dominates this fascinatingly bizarre little silent movie. More than just a ‘horror actor,' Chaney was a consummate craftsman who, here using a minimum of makeup, could sway an audience with the slightest facial twinge or glance from his haunted eyes. Completely convincing as a cripple, dragging his dead legs behind him across the floor, he becomes more a monstrous aberration than a human being.

Lionel Barrymore, Warner Baxter & lovely Mary Nolan all give excellent performances in supporting roles, but this is really Chaney's picture all the way. The fine production values , courtesy of MGM, only enhance its star's dominance of the medium.

With Tod Browning, Chaney's frequent collaborator, as director, it is fascinating to speculate how much Chaney's physical performance here later influenced Browning's vision in his masterwork, FREAKS (1932).


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 November 1928 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

West of Zanzibar See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$259,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (New York opening) (premiere)

Sound Mix:

Mono (MovieTone) (musical score and sound effects)| Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
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