The most celebrated and exquisitely perverse of the many collaborations between Tod Browning and his legendary leading man Lon ChaneyThe Unknown features a wrenchingly physical performance from “the Man of a Thousand Faces” as the armless Spanish knife thrower Alonzo (he flings daggers with his feet) whose dastardly infatuation with his beautiful assistant (Joan Crawford)—a woman, it just so happens, who cannot bear to be touched by the hands of any man—drives him to unspeakable extremes. Sadomasochistic obsession, deception, murder, disfigurement, and a spectacular Grand Guignol climax—Browning wrings every last frisson from the lurid premise. (Criterion)


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English Tacit eloquence relying mainly on the charms of Crawford and Chaney’s unarguable charisma and acting talent. But what gave this movie immorality came along seventy years after the movie was made. It was then that the Alloy Orchestra decided to record the best ever accompanying music for this and a whole range of silent movies, adding the necessary punch and a wave of emotions and energy to this truncated version of the movie. And in doing so, they created a whole new movie. Better; perfect. ()


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English Tod Browning is one of the most misunderstood filmmakers of the silent and early sound era. Yet his films are beautiful and remain so years later. Alonzo, portrayed by the great Lon Chaney, is a beautiful tragic character with whom one can empathize, yet also find it difficult to like. However, in contrast to the other characters, he is still the hero. Tod Browning wasn't afraid of horror elements, details, or romance. Everything fits perfectly in his films. ()


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