The Unholy Three (1925)
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...
Although Lon Chaney and director Tod Browning had made a couple of films together earlier in their careers, this unique melodrama marked the beginning of a string of chilling, macabre silent films, which included West of Zanzibar, The Unknown, and The Black Bird. Chaney is Echo, a sideshow ventriloquist. He cooks up a scam with two other members of the sideshow -- Hercules, the strong man (Victor McLaglen), and Tweedledee, a midget (Harry Earles). The three of them open up a bird store full of parrots that have impressive vocabularies -- but only when Echo, dressed as proprietress Granny O'Grady, is around. When the buyer takes the bird home and it won't talk, Granny comes around with a baby (Tweedledee in swaddling clothes). While "Granny" (using his powers of ventriloquism) coaxes the parrot into speaking, the midget cases the joint to see if there's anything worth robbing later. Trouble comes when they hire Hector, a simple soul (Matt Moore), as a clerk. Echo's pickpocket sweetheart, Rosie (Mae Busch) falls in love with him. Meanwhile, Hercules and Tweedledee murder a man while they're in the midst of one of their robberies. Hector is arrested for the crime while the others flee. To save Hector, Rosie finally agrees to give him up if Echo saves him. By throwing his voice, Echo makes Hector appear to give testimony which frees him. When Rosie goes to Echo, however, he sends her back to Hector, while he returns to the side show. His two cohorts meet their end when they run afoul of Echo's pet gorilla. This hugely successful film was remade as Chaney's first -- and last -- talkie. Harry Earles (who might also be remembered from his starring role in Freaks) reprises his role as Tweedledee. … More
No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.Login
Critic Reviews for The Unholy Three
After viewing this production the figures that have passed upon the screen still cling to one's mind, and one feels like talking about the strange and unusual tale.
Browning's obsession with deformity, sexual aberration, and death yielded many great moments but few wholly satisfying films -- up until his masterpiece of 1932, Freaks.
There is many a pleasing frisson to be had from the weird family circle formed by three carnival refugees.
As the dynamics of the odd trio change, the macabre observations and remarkable visuals are expertly handled, making this a much-under-rated silent.
It is one of Lon Chaney's best movies and biggest hits, about a trio of sideshow "freaks" who become criminals to get revenge on "normal" society.
Audience Reviews for The Unholy Three
Another good turn from Lon Chaney. He plays a side show ventriloquist (in a silent movie!?!?) who, along with Hercules the Strong Man (Victor McLaglen) and Tweedledee the Smallest Man (Harry Earles), call themselves the Unholy Three and are burglars. The remake talkie from 1930 is very similar, and they both have their merits. But the last scene of this silent version pushes it slightly over the other for me. Very moving, and shows how little Chaney had to do to get a point across. This films gets an extra 1/2 star just for that few seconds of film.More
tod browning, king of the freaks. better than the remake by jack conway from 1930, which is mostly notable for being lon chaney's only talkieMore
Discuss The Unholy Three on our Movie forum!