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West of Zanzibar

West of Zanzibar (1928)

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Release Date: Nov 28, 1928 Wide

audience

83

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Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 444

My Rating

Movie Info

In this lurid Tod Browning melodrama, boasting a thoroughly creepy performance by Lon Chaney, Chaney plays Phroso, a limehouse magician who is thoroughly in love with his wife Anna (Jacquelin Gadsdon). Also in love with Phroso's wife is ivory-trader Crane (Lionel Barrymore). After a performance, Anna tells Phroso that she is leaving him to go away with Crane to Africa. After Phroso confronts Crane, Crane kicks him down a second-floor landing, crippling him. Months later, Phroso, now known as

Unrated,

Drama

MGM

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All Critics (4) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (2) | Rotten (0)

Chaney is a stage magician whose signature trick is to transform a beautiful woman into a skeleton: This is an absolutely brilliant -- and economical -- visual evocation of the relationship between sex and death, the erotic and the morbid...

June 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

What makes this film special is the virtuoso performance of Chaney.

April 30, 2003 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for West of Zanzibar

A bit slow and overly dramatic but undeniably interesting and atmospheric vehicle for the legendary man of the thousand faces, Lon Chaney. well crafted revenge flick.
April 9, 2008
pier007

Super Reviewer

A remarkably dark, twisted movie, even by contemporary standards. And of course, it has a fantastic performance by Lon Chaney, playing a maniacal, vengeful Colonel Kurtz type who has paralyzed legs and laboriously drags himself around on his arms. "West of Zanzibar" is not as well-known as other Tod Browning films like "Dracula" and "Freaks," but it's just as powerful. I feel it desperately needed a flashier title -- "West of Zanzibar" suggests some dull National Geographic travelogue, not this sick, gripping melodrama. One warning: In a movie about African natives made in the 1920s, embarrassing racist stereotypes are a given.
May 2, 2012
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • West of Zanzibar (1928) (DE)
  • West of Zanzibar (1928) (UK)
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