WARNER BROS. has released a "MUST OWN" collection of Lon
Chaney films in their "LON CHANEY COLLECTION"!
It's all too easy for younger film audiences to be completely unaware of the
truly great actors that came long before Russel Crowe and Kevin Spacey.
This collection, along with many other classics, recently released from WARNER
BROS. is allowing viewers a wonderful opportunity to view and learn about them
in the most optimal presentations.
"THE LON CHANEY COLLECTION" is comprised of three full-length silent films, a
sensational documentary and a semi-restored lost film. Chaney is generally
remembered for the more disturbing, outlandish characters he
portrayed, "Phantom of the Opera" etc., but as these films and the documentary
reveal, one of the most consistent themes in virtually all of his films deals
with the longing, and loneliness of a character wishing for the most normal,
everyday needs within all of us, love.
It's due to the incredible acting ability of Chaney, who like Chaplin,
demonstrates that eyes, or even "hands" can convey much emotion, without having
to rely on sound and dialogue.
The first disc of this two disc collection offers "ACE OF HEARTS" and "LAUGH
CLOWN LAUGH". Both offer extremely unusual premises and are well worth
owning. The first deals with a club, in which members deal cards to select
whom must commit murder! Given its unusual premise, it's still a bit slow
at times, but the performances and overall quality make it worth watching.
"LAUGH CLOWN LAUGH" offers Chaney as a clown whom finds a young girl left to the
wilds along a river. He ends up raising the girl as she grows into a beautiful
woman. Of course, we find Chaney falling in love with her. What results is
a truly emotional and memorable experience as his character must choose between
his own, sincere love for her and what's best for her future and happiness.
The 2nd disc offers "THE UNKNOWN" by the great Tod Browning! Chaney plays
Alonzo, a criminal hiding from the law by pretending to be armless and joining a
circus in a bizarre act as "Alonzo the Armless".
There are plenty of twists throughout the film and it's more entertaining and
satisfying than most films which it is reminiscent of in its "Lynchian"
description. "LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT" is a lost film from Browning, often cited
in film history books as one Chaney's best films. The plot involves a
bizarre killer with freakish teeth and eyes. Chaney's skill at makeup is evident
here. He also plays the detective investigating the murders, and whom might know
more than he's revealing. Unfortunately, there is no actual footage left, so
this film has been restored,(recreated) using numerous stills. The effect is
surprisingly effective, and it's certainly a keeper!
A lengthy documentary offers plenty of interviews and clips. It's
outstanding and very re-watchable!
WARNER BROS has done a fine job with this transfer. The original
aspect ratios of 1.33:1 are here. Unfortunately, the image to both films
disc one are a bit disappointing. Both show signs of deterioration and
"THE UNKNOWN" looks much beter than the others, with a generally fine
print and few scratches. The documentary looks fine throughout.
WARNER BROS. has provided new scores for these films, in stereo.
They vary from good to great.
Robert Osborne of Turner Classic Movies provides a fine introduction
and there are great commentaries with film hnistorian Michael Blake for
Don't miss this!