7.2/10
2,125
47 user 30 critic

Man of a Thousand Faces (1957)

The life and career of vaudevillian and silent screen horror star Lon Chaney, including his contentious relationship with his neurotic wife and his premature death.

Director:

Joseph Pevney
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

Jake MacIllaney will do just about anything to win the presidential election of longshoreman union Local 26. When he encounters young upright attorney Dan Cabot and Cabot's attractive wife,... See full summary »

Director: Charles Lederer
Stars: James Cagney, Shirley Jones, Roger Smith
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In 1920s Ireland, I.R.A. members are being lead by the war mongering Dr. Sean Lenihan (James Cagney), as they fight oppressive British forces.

Director: Michael Anderson
Stars: James Cagney, Don Murray, Dana Wynter
Drama | Music | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Danny is a content truck driver, but his girl Peggy shows potential as a dancer and hopes he too can show ambition. Danny acquiesces and pursues boxing to please her, but the two begin to spend more time working than time together.

Directors: Anatole Litvak, Jean Negulesco
Stars: James Cagney, Ann Sheridan, Frank Craven
Certificate: Passed Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A fictionalized account of the career of jazz singer Ruth Etting and her tempestuous marriage to gangster Marty Snyder, who helped propel her to stardom.

Director: Charles Vidor
Stars: Doris Day, James Cagney, Cameron Mitchell
Certificate: Passed Biography | Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The life of the renowned musical composer, playwright, actor, dancer, and singer George M. Cohan.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston
Taxi (1932)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Independent cab drivers struggling against a taxi company consortium find a leader in Matt Nolan.

Director: Roy Del Ruth
Stars: James Cagney, Loretta Young, George E. Stone
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A corrupt D.A. with political ambitions is angered by news stories implicating him in criminal activity and decides to frame the reporter who wrote them for manslaughter in order to silence him.

Director: William Keighley
Stars: James Cagney, George Raft, Jane Bryan
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Three men attempt to make a living in Prohibitionist America after returning home from fighting together in World War I.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Priscilla Lane
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An unpolished racketeer, whose racket is finding heirs for unclaimed fortunes, affects ethics and tea-drinking manners to win back the sweetheart who now works for his seemingly upright competitor.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: James Cagney, Bette Davis, Allen Jenkins
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Quick-tempered yet likable Biff Grimes falls for the beautiful Virginia Brush, but he is not the only young man in the neighborhood who is smitten with her.

Director: Raoul Walsh
Stars: James Cagney, Olivia de Havilland, Rita Hayworth
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

The life story of the famous pianist and band-leader of the 1930s and 1940s.

Director: George Sidney
Stars: Tyrone Power, Kim Novak, Victoria Shaw
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

The daughter of iconic actor John Barrymore becomes reunited with her father after a ten year estrangement and engages in his self-destructive lifestyle.

Director: Art Napoleon
Stars: Dorothy Malone, Errol Flynn, Efrem Zimbalist Jr.
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Cagney ... Lon Chaney
Dorothy Malone ... Cleva Creighton Chaney
Jane Greer ... Hazel Bennet Chaney
Marjorie Rambeau ... Gert
Jim Backus ... Clarence Locan
Robert Evans ... Irving Thalberg (as Robert J. Evans)
Celia Lovsky ... Mrs. Chaney
Jeanne Cagney ... Carrie Chaney
Jack Albertson ... Dr. J. Wilson Shields
Roger Smith ... Creighton Chaney at 21
Robert Lyden Robert Lyden ... Creighton Chaney at 13
Rickie Sorensen Rickie Sorensen ... Creighton Chaney at 8
Dennis Rush Dennis Rush ... Creighton Chaney at 4
Nolan Leary ... Pa Chaney
Simon Scott Simon Scott ... Carl Hastings
Edit

Storyline

Loose biography of actor Lon Chaney. Growing up with deaf parents, he learns what it is like to be different. As an actor, he puts that knowledge (together with lots of make-up and talent) to use playing a variety of strange, unusual characters, adopting their characteristics so thoroughly as to be called the Man of a Thousand Faces. Written by Ken Yousten <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

This is the true story of the fabulous Lon Chaney! See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

19 November 1957 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Mann mit den 1000 Gesichtern See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

An October 1957 Los Angeles Times ad shows that Universal Pictures widely distributed this film on a double bill with Interlude (1957), the latter under its alternate title "Forbidden Interlude". See more »

Goofs

During Phantom Of The Opera re-creation, position of actress who faints and falls to floor after unmasking Lon Chaney's character shifts from shot to shot. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Guard: Good morning, Mr. Thalberg.
Irving Thalberg: Good morning.
See more »

Connections

References The Trap (1922) See more »

Soundtracks

Jingle Bells
(uncredited)
Written by James Pierpont (as James Lord Pierpont) (1857)
integrated into soundtrack when Chaney family reunites at Christmas
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Cagney - Man Of A Thousand Parts
5 May 2009 | by jpdohertySee all my reviews

MAN OF A THOUSAND FACES is one of Hollywood's better films about Hollywood! Produced by Universal International in 1957 it recounts the life and times of one of the silent screens most formidable icons - Lon Chaney. From an excellent Oscar nominated screenplay by R.Wright Cambell, Ben Roberts and Ivan Goff it was skillfully directed by Joseph Pevney. Peveny, himself a useful supporting player in such movies as "Body And Soul" (1947) and Fox's "Street With No Name (1948) directed some of Universal's biggest productions i.e. "Away All Boats" (1956), "Tammy & The Bachelor" (1957) and one of Erroll Flynn's last efforts "Istanbul" (1957). Playing the leading role in this marvellous biopic is James Cagney who gives an outstanding measured performance as Lon Chaney the strange tortured character actor of silent pictures who, ironically, died from throat cancer with the advent of the talkies.

Crisply photographed in black & white Cinemascope by the great Russell Metty ("Touch Of Evil") the picture conveys a strong sense of time and place. Expertly evoked is Vaudeville in the early part of the 20th Century where Chaney began as a song and dance man (Cagney delighting us with his special brand of hoofing) and early Hollywood where he became an extra at Universal Studios. Then with the help of his make-up box and his uncanny facility to alter his appearance - sometimes resulting in great pain - he soon became known as The Man Of A 1000 Faces.

Notable reconstructions of Chaney's creations are quite brilliantly achieved in the picture. Cagney excels as the cripple being cured in a reworking of Chaney's famous scene from "The Miracle Man" (1919)and the phantom being unmasked in "Phantom Of The Opera" (1925). But especially noteworthy is a re-staging of Chaney's "The Hunchback Of Notre Dame" (1923). Here Cagney is totally unrecognizable as he replicates Chaney's interpretation of Quasimodo being whipped on the punishment wheel in the village square. It is an intense moment in the picture and a remarkable achievement for Cagney the consummate actor! Little wonder that the great Orson Welles in the seventies declared that the screen's greatest actor was James Cagney!

Others in the cast of this splendid film are Dorothy Malone giving an excellent performance as the singer and Chaney's first wife Cleva Creighton, Jane Greer as his second wife, Jim Backus as his press agent and Robert Evens as the boy wonder of the motion picture business Irving Thalberg.

The picture also boasts a terrific music score by the underrated and now wholly forgotten film composer Frank Skinner (1897/1968). Skinner was composer in residence at Universal for many years and composed the music for some of their most prestigious productions such as "Tap Roots" (1948), "Magnificent Obsession" (1954), "Madame X" (1965) and "Shenandoah" (1965). "Man Of A 1000 Faces" was, however, his finest achievement! A soundtrack album of his music from the film - issued at the time of the picture's release - is now a much sought after recording!

A wonderful movie on DVD presented in a sharp black & white widescreen format that every collector will want to own if only for Cagney's amazing performance. His Lon Chaney is just as powerful and just as memorable as his George M. Cohan, Cody Jarret or Marty "The Gimp" Snyder!


21 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 47 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed