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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 ... 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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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 »

Goofs

When Echo sells the parrot, and Hercules come to help carry the cage out, a monkey is placed on his shoulders. The monkey is attached to a pole by a harness and strap, all of which is visible upper right of the frame. When Hercules walks out with the cage, the monkey is yanked away using the pole. 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

The Prisoner's Song
(1924) (uncredited)
Written by Guy Massey
Sung by Harry Earles
See more »

User Reviews

More's the Pity
14 June 2004 | by BaronBl00dSee all my reviews

Though not nearly as polished as its silent counterpart, in large part due to the absence of director Tod Browning, this version is still a well-made film with a lot to offer. If for no other reason than seeing Lon Chaney in his only sound film, this film is a must! Chaney is wonderful again in the role of Echo, a ventriliquist and criminal. Chaney shows that he understood the sound medium and would have done great things in pictures to come had he lived. Alas! he died shortly after this film from throat cancer. He shows that he was a very credible actor and really impressed me with his comic timing. The rest of the cast is good with Elliot Nugent as the patsy Hector contributing a nice turn and Harry Earles again reprising his role as the midget baby. I found some of his words a bit difficult to understand, but he nonetheless added immeasurably with his split persona of a hard, stogie-chomping small man and then becoming a little tyke with relative ease. Lila Lee does a credible at best job as Rosie O' Grady. Some scenes in this film are particularly well-crafted as when the policeman visits the home of Mrs. O'Grady and starts playing with Earles's toy elephant. Also, Earles is a delight to watch playing with a ruby necklace. Chaney does not get the opportunity to show the pathos he exuded in the silent version - more due to Browning's absence I think. Director Jack Conway does a workmanlike job but misses a bit with the atmosphere of the film. At any rate a fine film and a tribute to Chaney as man capable of just about anything!


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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
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