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The Unholy Three (1930)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 12 July 1930 (USA)
"Talkie" remake of Tod Browning's 1925 silent film. A trio of former sideshow performers double as the "Unholy Three" in a scam to nab some shiny rocks.

Director:

Jack Conway

Writer:

Clarence Aaron 'Tod' Robbins (from the book by) (as Clarence Aaron Robbins)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Lon Chaney ... Echo
Lila Lee ... Rosie
Elliott Nugent ... Hector
Harry Earles ... Midget
John Miljan ... Prosecuting Attorney
Ivan Linow ... Hercules
Clarence Burton Clarence Burton ... Regan
Crauford Kent ... Defense Attorney
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Storyline

Professor Echo is a sideshow ventriloquist who recruits two sociopathic co-workers, Midge and Hercules, the show's midget and strong man respectively, into a burglary ring. Echo disguises himself as the elderly Mrs. O'Grady, the owner of a pet store, who sells talking parrots and mynah birds to a high-class clientèle with Hercules posing as his son-in-law married to Echo's pickpocket girlfriend Rosie and Midge passing as their infant son. Echo's ventriloquist skills initially convince the customers that their parrot can talk, but they're disappointed when they bring the mute bird home. A phone call of complaint brings Grandma O'Grady and her daughter's "baby" to the client's house to facilitate the bird's talking, an opportunity to case the house for a subsequent robbery by "The Unholy Three." Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

He conquers the dialog screen with FIVE voices in this amazing NEW production! (Print Ad) See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 July 1930 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A szentségtelen hármas See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Victor McLaglen, could not be loaned out from Fox to reprise his role of Hercules from the original silent version of this film, so the part was eventually shortened in the final cut. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Sideshow Barker: This is just a little sample of what you will see on the inside. The beginning of the religious dance of the muscleman. This is the dance that broke the sultan's thermometer! Just a moment there, the big sensations for the inside. Remember I said, the big sensation on the inside. The admission is a dime, ten cents or ten part of a dollar.
See more »

Alternate Versions

An alternate ending was shot but never released. Closer to the original silent version, it has Echo telling Rosie to go to Hector at the carnival after he makes a full confession in the court. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Man of a Thousand Faces (1957) See more »

Soundtracks

Sweet Rosie O'Grady
(1896) (uncredited)
Written by Maude Nugent
Sung a cappella by Lon Chaney through his dummy
See more »

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User Reviews

I like it... it's unholy....
7 November 2001 | by boris-26See all my reviews

Why this wonderfully crazy film from 1930 isn't more readily available is a total sin. Of course, THE UNHOLY THREE (1930) is most famed for the only time we can hear the great silent horror star Lon Chaney speak. When he speaks, this rather gruff, but ordinary voice comes out. I sat there thinking "That's Quasimoto, Eric the Phantom, Dead Legs Flint, and that's what Dracula would of sounded like if Chaney lived to get the part? Wow!")

The film is really out of control. Three out of work circus performers (Chaney, midget Harry Earles and strongman Ivan Linow) decide to become a trio of jewel thieves. Midget Earles has the best dialog, delivered in a squeaky voice- "I like it" (meaning the plan) "It's unholy!" This motley trio decide to disquise themselves very outlandishly (Chaney as an old woman, Earles as a cooing baby) They couldn't just lay low, or take assumed names? They had to resort this sort of lunacy? Lila Lee is also a wonderful treat here. Why didn't she do more talkies?


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