Silent Revue: THE UNKNOWN (1927)


Revue Cinema Sun, Mar 24 4:00 PM
Film Info
Release Year:1927
Production Country:USA
Cast/Crew Info
Director:Tod Browning
Cast:Lon Chaney
Norman Kerry
Joan Crawford
Nick De Ruiz
John George
Screenwriter:Joseph Farnham


Silent Revue’s season dedicated to horror turns its attention to the era’s earliest instances of
serial killers with THE UNKNOWN, starring “The Man of a Thousand Faces,” Lon Chaney. From
the mind that brought you Lugosi’s DRACULA and FREAKS, Tod Browning’s masterpiece is the
original Universal Horror and features one the studio’s most terrifying killers— “Alonso the
Armless Wonder.”


A murderer on the run, Chaney’s Alonso—a nightmarish conception of unbridled evil—disguises
himself as an “armless” knife thrower and hides out at a local circus. In love with the beautiful
Nanon (played by a radiant Joan Crawford at the beginning of a legendary career), Alonso finds
himself her perfect companion—a result of Nanon’s crippling fear of man’s touch. However,
when the circus’s strongman (Norman Kerry) threatens his intentions, Alonso’s murderous
streak returns with a vengeance.


The key performance in the “Master of Disguise’s” remarkable career, THE UNKNOWN features
groundbreaking special effects, with Chaney undergoing excruciatingly painful binding and body
contortions to pull off the uncanny armless illusion.

Live accompaniment by Marilyn Lerner

Silent Revue is curated by Alicia Fletcher

Silent Revue is sponsored by Hollywood Suite