The Unknown Reviews

  • Dec 18, 2020

    Witness, as Lon Chaney wiggles his toes with malicious intent! As a drama, The Unknown is quite firmly in the territory of "strange" trying to provide a macabre twist on a classic formula of obsession, but it does provide ample opportunity for the Man of a Thousand Faces to flex his artistic muscle, grimacing and scowling with evil intent. (3/5)

    Witness, as Lon Chaney wiggles his toes with malicious intent! As a drama, The Unknown is quite firmly in the territory of "strange" trying to provide a macabre twist on a classic formula of obsession, but it does provide ample opportunity for the Man of a Thousand Faces to flex his artistic muscle, grimacing and scowling with evil intent. (3/5)

  • Nov 11, 2019

    Anything with Lon Chaney Sr is worth watching and this macabre love story is a fine testament to the silent era. Atmospheric and disturbing, Chaney as ever, steals the show.

    Anything with Lon Chaney Sr is worth watching and this macabre love story is a fine testament to the silent era. Atmospheric and disturbing, Chaney as ever, steals the show.

  • Oct 21, 2019

    Lon Chaney at his very best. The characters are memorable and the final scene is cringe worthy throughout. There are no wasted moments and is fast moving, very fun to watch.

    Lon Chaney at his very best. The characters are memorable and the final scene is cringe worthy throughout. There are no wasted moments and is fast moving, very fun to watch.

  • Dec 09, 2018

    Browning's version of the opposite side of the coins on emotions i.e. love and hate, is able to justify both of it thoroughly with unbiased perspective. The Unknown Browning's version of the opposite sides of the coin on emotions i.e. love and hate, is able to justify both of it thoroughly with unbiased perspective. Very few tales justify the agendas or logistics of the antagonist let along narrate through it. This clearly suggests how ahead of time Browning's vision is. And now to have an idea is one thing and to project it on screen is another, and with gripping screenplay and adaptive concept the story enfolds each puzzle layer by layer that puts you in a tight spot before jumping on any conclusion. And it is that parallel track that it chooses to venture that fuels this film to the thrill it possess. Now as far as the triangle love story, that it has weaved, is concerned, there is no doubt on whose side you are supposed to be, but with Chaney's majestic performance, for a brief period he will lure you in, in his webs of lies and deceits. It also has a strong illuminating background story that factors in effectively along with even the props and the backdrop of the set pieces that joins in majorly on the storytelling. Aforementioned, Chaney's performance elevates the film's drama to a whole new level, from being overprotective to be overpowered by obsession and rage. Crawford as the love interest and Kerry as a gullible good boy are convincing enough to drive this melodrama. The primary reason why we fall for Chaney's character, along with his performance, is his hardworking nature and his relationship with his friend that shows us the softer humane side of his. The Unknown would surely be an unknown tale for the audience at that stage, not because of the trajectory that it takes you to but the enthralling procedure that it has for you, it is and will be Chaney's journey.

    Browning's version of the opposite side of the coins on emotions i.e. love and hate, is able to justify both of it thoroughly with unbiased perspective. The Unknown Browning's version of the opposite sides of the coin on emotions i.e. love and hate, is able to justify both of it thoroughly with unbiased perspective. Very few tales justify the agendas or logistics of the antagonist let along narrate through it. This clearly suggests how ahead of time Browning's vision is. And now to have an idea is one thing and to project it on screen is another, and with gripping screenplay and adaptive concept the story enfolds each puzzle layer by layer that puts you in a tight spot before jumping on any conclusion. And it is that parallel track that it chooses to venture that fuels this film to the thrill it possess. Now as far as the triangle love story, that it has weaved, is concerned, there is no doubt on whose side you are supposed to be, but with Chaney's majestic performance, for a brief period he will lure you in, in his webs of lies and deceits. It also has a strong illuminating background story that factors in effectively along with even the props and the backdrop of the set pieces that joins in majorly on the storytelling. Aforementioned, Chaney's performance elevates the film's drama to a whole new level, from being overprotective to be overpowered by obsession and rage. Crawford as the love interest and Kerry as a gullible good boy are convincing enough to drive this melodrama. The primary reason why we fall for Chaney's character, along with his performance, is his hardworking nature and his relationship with his friend that shows us the softer humane side of his. The Unknown would surely be an unknown tale for the audience at that stage, not because of the trajectory that it takes you to but the enthralling procedure that it has for you, it is and will be Chaney's journey.

  • Nov 01, 2018

    The most brilliantly perverse film of all time.

    The most brilliantly perverse film of all time.

  • May 24, 2018

    This film by Tod Browning is a sort of predecessor to his own 'Freaks'. Lon Chaney's performance is fantastic, his facial impressions are incredibly nuanced and horrifying as to his role as a 'deformed' man craving to win a woman, but his deformity is rather 'interior', than exterior - his mind. The film is short and to the point. It was also a delight to watch the young Joan Crawford, the woman in question who too has her own peculiarities such as the morbid fear of men's arms. Tod Browning made an impressive career out of exploration of human deformities be they of spiritual or physical kind.

    This film by Tod Browning is a sort of predecessor to his own 'Freaks'. Lon Chaney's performance is fantastic, his facial impressions are incredibly nuanced and horrifying as to his role as a 'deformed' man craving to win a woman, but his deformity is rather 'interior', than exterior - his mind. The film is short and to the point. It was also a delight to watch the young Joan Crawford, the woman in question who too has her own peculiarities such as the morbid fear of men's arms. Tod Browning made an impressive career out of exploration of human deformities be they of spiritual or physical kind.

  • Jan 15, 2018

    1001 movies to see before you die. Original and entertaining.

    1001 movies to see before you die. Original and entertaining.

  • Antonius B Super Reviewer
    Sep 11, 2017

    While very short at just 50 minutes, this film packs an emotional punch and is macabre in a way that is unique to the genre of horror movies. I won't spoil the big moments, but the tone is set from the beginning as we find ourselves at the circus performance with an armless man (Lon Chaney) hurling knives and firing a rifle at his partner (a young Joan Crawford). As we later see Chaney (and a real-life armless double) manipulate objects and do things like smoke with this feet, we're reminded of the film director Tod Browning would make five years later, 'Freaks'. Chaney's performance throughout the film is brilliant, and he dramatically captures angst, jealousy, and pain. John George turns in a strong performance as the little person in the circus who is Chaney's friend, and the two of them create a striking pair. While the overall tone of the movie is deliciously creepy, the romance Joan Crawford warms up to with a circus strong-man (Norman Kerry) is sweet, and Browning uses a piece of gauze over the camera lens to create an idyllic, dreamy feel to some of their scenes. The uncredited score that was used on the TCM showing was also fantastic. Great film, especially for 1927.

    While very short at just 50 minutes, this film packs an emotional punch and is macabre in a way that is unique to the genre of horror movies. I won't spoil the big moments, but the tone is set from the beginning as we find ourselves at the circus performance with an armless man (Lon Chaney) hurling knives and firing a rifle at his partner (a young Joan Crawford). As we later see Chaney (and a real-life armless double) manipulate objects and do things like smoke with this feet, we're reminded of the film director Tod Browning would make five years later, 'Freaks'. Chaney's performance throughout the film is brilliant, and he dramatically captures angst, jealousy, and pain. John George turns in a strong performance as the little person in the circus who is Chaney's friend, and the two of them create a striking pair. While the overall tone of the movie is deliciously creepy, the romance Joan Crawford warms up to with a circus strong-man (Norman Kerry) is sweet, and Browning uses a piece of gauze over the camera lens to create an idyllic, dreamy feel to some of their scenes. The uncredited score that was used on the TCM showing was also fantastic. Great film, especially for 1927.

  • Jul 27, 2016

    The Unknown is a bit too short and rushed, but ultimately rewarding in its crazy, authentic and jaw-dropping story and so well acted with Lon Chaney giving a truly powerful performance. It is a film that is consistently entertaining, but also truly unnerving at times, moving in its irony and so well constructed from beginning to end. It is one of the most original films ever created and one of the most purely entertaining films of the period.

    The Unknown is a bit too short and rushed, but ultimately rewarding in its crazy, authentic and jaw-dropping story and so well acted with Lon Chaney giving a truly powerful performance. It is a film that is consistently entertaining, but also truly unnerving at times, moving in its irony and so well constructed from beginning to end. It is one of the most original films ever created and one of the most purely entertaining films of the period.

  • Jan 25, 2016

    Lon Chaney, Sr. is my favourite actor of all time. He is regarded as an early genius of the thespian arts. This is one of his greatest and underrated films. Tod Browning is arguably the greatest early horror director and this should be one of his most respected masterpieces. The scene of Lon Chaney's shocked reaction has been deemed one of the greatest scenes in history, and I firmly agree. Captivating, riveting and extraordinarily intense plot twists, make this film stand up to today's sophisticated standards. This is Joan Crawford's debut film. Lon Chaney plays an armless circus performer who's desire for a young woman leads him to make some diabolical decisions. This is a must for any silent movie and early horror fan. The only poor fact is the name of this film. It should have a more relevant title.

    Lon Chaney, Sr. is my favourite actor of all time. He is regarded as an early genius of the thespian arts. This is one of his greatest and underrated films. Tod Browning is arguably the greatest early horror director and this should be one of his most respected masterpieces. The scene of Lon Chaney's shocked reaction has been deemed one of the greatest scenes in history, and I firmly agree. Captivating, riveting and extraordinarily intense plot twists, make this film stand up to today's sophisticated standards. This is Joan Crawford's debut film. Lon Chaney plays an armless circus performer who's desire for a young woman leads him to make some diabolical decisions. This is a must for any silent movie and early horror fan. The only poor fact is the name of this film. It should have a more relevant title.