The Unknown

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 6


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,916
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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.


Critic Reviews for The Unknown

All Critics (6)

Audience Reviews for The Unknown

  • 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.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 24, 2011
    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 K Super Reviewer
  • May 20, 2011
    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 Super Reviewer
  • Sep 21, 2010
    It was odd. I liked the story, and it was interesting, but it was a bit boring.
    Lauren D Super Reviewer

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