***We're looking for contributors***


Lon Chaney in London

Geoffrey Macnab's “Lon Chaney: A monochrome chameleon” in The [London] Independent:

“Lon Chaney (1883-1930) is a paradox. He was a character actor unrecognisable to most cinemagoers, but he became the biggest star of his era. He was a man who terrified, intrigued and revolted audiences in equal measure in famous roles such as The Phantom of the Opera or The Hunchback of Notre Dame, but was known to be courteous and soft-spoken.

“Chaney was a shape shifter. Grotesques were his speciality. He could play hunchbacks, limbless gangsters, Dickensian villains, clowns, insane surgeons, old ladies and vampires. You never knew where you would see him next. 'Don't step on that spider,' director Marshall Neilan told a party guest. 'It might be Lon Chaney.'”

London's The Barbican will screen a couple of Lon Chaney films in the upcoming weeks:

The Unknown (1927), directed by Tod Browning. Screening on Apr. 15, with live accompaniment by DJ Nacho Martin

The Unknown is a way-over-the-top melodrama about a dagger thrower who has his arms chopped off because Joan Crawford suffers from armophobia (a word I just coined). The problem is that Crawford eventually comes to the realization that arms can be cozy, as long as they're those of strong man Norman Kerry. Needless to say, Chaney goes totally bonkers. From then on, who knows where those daggers are going to land? Some have found The Unknown to be tasteless and vile, and perhaps it is – though I'd personally describe it as fascinatingly bizarre.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923), directed by Wallace Worsley. Screening on Apr. 22, with live accompaniment by Stephen Horne

The Hunchback of Notre Dame was one of the most expensive films of the silent era, but this slow-moving adaptation of Victor Hugo's tale works only sporadically. Lon Chaney is fine, but his is basically a supporting role. Patsy Ruth Miller plays Esmeralda, and Norman Kerry is the hunky man she loves.

If you liked the article Lon Chaney in London, please recommend it to your friends and/or follow Alt Film Guide on social media. See share/follow buttons above.
Lon Chaney in London © 2004–2017 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
Text NOT to be reproduced without prior written consent.

Leave a comment about 'Lon Chaney in London'

UPDATED COMMENTING RULES: Our articles and/or other people's comments infuriate you?

Well, here's the good news: It's perfectly okay to disagree with our own and/or other commenters' views and opinions.

But ... *thoughtfulness* and *at least a modicum of sanity* are imperative.

In other words: Add something reasonable & coherent to the discussion.

Spammy, abusive, bigoted, baseless (spreading misinformation), trollish/inflammatory, and/or just plain demented comments will be zapped and offenders may be banned.

Also, bear in mind that links found in comments will generally be deleted.

Most recent comments listed on top.

1 Comment to Lon Chaney in London

  1. lovelon

    Love Lon in He Who Gets Slapped. Love Lon in just about everything!

Film Archives