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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 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

Taglines:

The kind of picture that makes Chaney the most popular star on the screen! You'll never forget it! (Print ad) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

TV-G | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 November 1928 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das Gesetz des Kongo See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$259,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$921,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (New York opening) (premiere)

Sound Mix:

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

Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mary Nolan was cast for her " tragic eyes". See more »

Goofs

In the notes in the MGM laser disc released in 1993, the character "Dead Legs" is erroneously referred to as "Daddy Legs". See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Phroso 'Dead-Legs': Ashes to ashes! Dust to dust!
See more »

Alternate Versions

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

Connections

Featured in Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Chaney gives one of the most powerful acting performances ever seen
1 October 2001 | by bigleeSee all my reviews

This film can be discounted as unacceptable by many modern audiences. It is filmed in black and white. It is silent and it shows African blacks in a stero-typic manner that would not be accepted today.

Saying all that, it is a must-see film for any serious student or fan of drama. Chaney gives in this film one of the most powerful and convincing acting performances of any actor in any film. Without a single spoken word he shows anger to the point of madness, sly intelligence and overwhelming remorse and sorrow.

There is no feel of "miming emotions " or "mugging for the camera" about this film. The emotions that Chaney display feel so authentic that at times this viewer feels a discomfort for intruding into the personal torment of the character.

The director has used the talents of Chaney and to a lesser extent those of the other actors to relay most of the story with minimal use of "Text Cards", which otherwise would have disrupted the flow of action.


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