In this early collaboration with director Tod Browning (Dracula, Freaks), Chaney delivers a dual performance of dramatic intensity, starring as Ah Wing, a kind-hearted student of Confucian ... See full summary »
Actually, this is an interesting Tod Browning/Lon Chaney film, their 3rd of 8 that they made at MGM from 1925-1929. It is one of the most affecting too.
I saw a 46 minute print, incomplete, but seemingly the only footage available from this film. Not sure how many reels it fully is, but what is here does constitute a complete picture, even though it obviously is missing character and story development. The print too was not too great, but watchable.
That being said it's still involving and rather sad as most Chaney/Browning films are. This one involves Chaney playing Singapore Joe, a veteran underworld hoodlum, whose left eye was scratched out (it would have been nice to have seen a clearer image of the make-up Chaney applied to "white-out" his left eye.) He has a long-lost daughter who was raised by his brother, played by Henry B. Walthall. She does not know him, despite his involvement in her life and he admires her from afar. She despises her father, though and has not forgiven his abandonment of her at a young age. Trouble ensues when one of Chaney's ex-hoodlum friends falls in love with her and she with him. Chaney rejects the union and plans to step in to "save" his daughter.
From what we see, this is a moving film for its' time. Chaney, as usual, evokes sympathy from the audience and even empathy as we see he wants to correct his life and love and support a daughter he has loved from a distance. The cast is good and Browning's direction is at par with his usual work. He actually comes off as more impressive in the silent period to me. There are some camera moves and dissolves within scenes that rather than signal the passage of time as most dissolves do, signify a closeness in relationship. This is seen when Chaney re-unites with his brother, Henry Walthall. There is a long shot of the two embracing and dissolving into a medium shot.
Overall, this is recommended and is more sympathetic and subtle than nearly every other film in which Chaney and Browning collaborated.
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