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FLICK PICKS: Chaney's gonna get you
October 26, 2008  | By Diane Werts
 
chaney-crawford.jpgThe movies' original frightmeisters strut their stuff tonight on Turner Classic Movies. And 80 years later, it still holds up.


Makeup maven Lon Chaney, Hollywood's "man of a thousand faces," met his match in director Tod Browning, later to attain immortality with the sound classics Dracula (originally slated to star Chaney, who died first) and Freaks. But silent films may have been their ultimate medium, building moods more in our minds than on screen -- though the images they created there were pretty disturbing, too.

chaney blackbird.jpgThe Blackbird (Sunday night at midnight on TCM) let Chaney do double-jointed double duty, as the benevolent Bishop and his cunning crime lord alter ego, the title character. [Photo at left.]


A year later, in 1927, with The Unknown (Sunday night at 1:30 a.m. on TCM), Browning and Chaney upped the creep quotient further, in what Wikipedia calls "the most intense and demented" of Browning's films (which, remember, include Freaks).

Chaney plays a circus troupe's "armless wonder" [photo at top], initially a two-armed cheat who later becomes what he would pretend, under truly twisted circumstances. (What else could you call doing something gruesome for the love of Joan Crawford?)

Take a taste in clips here.

 
 
 
 
 
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