The Unknown (1927) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Unknown (1927)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Unknown Photos

Movie Info

Another typically morbid Chaney film has him working as a circus freak and trying to win the heart of his assistant. Alas, she does not want him so he must kill the object of her intentions.


Lon Chaney
as Alonzo
Norman Kerry
as Malabar
Joan Crawford
as Estrellita
Billy Seay
as The Little Wolf
Polly Moran
as Landlady
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Unknown

All Critics (6)

Tod Browning's rousing, cruel joke on the mutilated artiste and the frigid muse

Full Review… | October 26, 2010

It may not be Browning's best silent film, but it is certainly his most fascinatingly perverse -- and that's saying something in the world of Tod Browning.

Full Review… | October 18, 2006
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

[An] astonishing masterpiece.

Full Review… | August 12, 2006
Combustible Celluloid

Not a second of its brief 50-minute running time is wasted.

Full Review… | December 6, 2005
Goatdog's Movies

It was the last of the great silent films, as just 4 months later the first talkie opened: The Jazz Singer.

Full Review… | May 24, 2003
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for The Unknown

It's a deadly and yet beautiful love triangle. Lon Chaney was stunning with his performance inside and outside the screen, I loved every single minute of this film. Circus certainly has been Browning's favourite theme.

Sylvester Kuo
Sylvester Kuo

Super Reviewer


A brilliant love story, I loved it, I just wish it were a bit longer, but other than that, it's perfect. It's a love story about obsession, lies, and murder. And the climactic scene towards the end was riveting. And Lon Cheney is fantastic as a 'one armed' man. I highly recommend this movie.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

wow. tod browning was one twisted fuck. this is like a precursor to freaks, with joan crawford when she was still cute and a standout performance by lon chaney. one of the stranger films you'll ever see

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

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