THE SILENT TREATMENT: Lon Chaney in "West of Zanzibar" + "The Unknown"

CO-PRESENTED BY WARNER ARCHIVE. Live musical accompaniment by Cinefamily organist Cliff Retallick!

Through unparalleled makeup craftsmanship, physical endurance and skilled pantomime, Lon Chaney, Sr. shocked silent audiences with an endless variety of transformations that earned him the nickname “The Man of 1,000 Faces.” Through his sensitivity, Chaney lent his monsters what Eugene O’Neill called “the transfiguring nobility of tragedy [in] seemingly the most ignoble, debased lives.” Lon met his artistic match in filmmaker Tod Browning, the vibrant artist behind such talkie gems as Freaks and 1931’s Lugosi-laden Dracula, who would collaborate with the fearless Chaney for a total of 10 incredible features. This afternoon’s double bill represents the apex of their relationship, and two of the most bizarre silent features ever filmed: West of Zanzibar, a wild-spirited, deliciously convoluted jungle revenge picture featuring Chaney as a man with no legs and a twenty-year score to settle — and The Unknown, all about unrequited love, circus freaks, blackmail, amputation and a phobia about being touched by others’ hands (plus, it’s co-starring Joan Crawford!)
West of Zanzibar Dir. Tod Browning, 1928, 35mm, 65 min.
The Unknown Dir. Tod Browning, 1927, 35mm, 50 min.

Watch an excerpt from “West of Zanzibar”!
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