By Michael F. Blake
For the 1st time, you could placed conjecture apart and browse definitive evidence in regards to the roles Chaney had backstage in addition to in entrance of the camera.
Blake examines Chaney's movie roles during this follow-up to the author's previous biography (Lon Chaney: the fellow at the back of the Thousand Faces, Vestal Pr., 1993). through correspondence, studio notes, and experiences from the preferred press, Blake completely reconstructs the cultural context within which Chaney's movies have been produced, exhibited, and acquired. even if sometimes topic to silent movie histrionics, Chaney created the function of the twisted antihero, and it really is this contribution to the pantheon of reveal varieties that Blake hails right here. He tracks Chaney's upward thrust from freelancer to MGM superstar, in addition to his partnership with director Tod Browning, whose darkish visions approved Chaney's tortured protagonists to thrive. regrettably, Blake's ardour as a fan and proficient curiosity in Chaney's artistry (the writer himself is a make-up artist) is suffocated by way of a turbid textual content. every now and then Blake overexplicates and makes seen inferences. The textual content comprises meticulous endnotes, copious images, and a bibliography.
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Extra resources for A Thousand Faces: Lon Chaney's Unique Artistry in Motion Pictures
By the time it was released in February 1919, the war was over, and the public had tired of “kill the Hun” pictures. Although False Faces uses World War I as its background, most of the story takes place aboard an ocean liner, a U-boat, and in New York City. One of the interesting aspects of this film is the artwork of the title cards. During this period, many producers began to experiment with artwork on their title cards to emphasize events taking place in a scene. For instance, the title card referring to Eckstrom, the villain in False Faces, displays an artistic rendition of a coiled snake baring its fangs, over which the title caption is superimposed.
Rebuking the worker, he slaps her face with the hat and grabs her by the hair, pulling her close to him. The anger expressed by Chaney and the reaction shots of the other women heighten the intensity of this scene. After issuing orders, Blizzard starts to leave, and as an afterthought, tells them about one of the girls who left his enclave. Sneering, he states that she now sleeps upon a marble slab in the morgue, and exits laughing. In another scene, he taunts Wilmont (Kenneth Harlan), Barbara’s (Claire Adams) fiancé, by remarking that he has an admirable pair of legs.
67 Lon next appeared as the sympathetic gambler opposite Betty Compson in For Those We Love . His former costar from The Miracle Man had recently signed a deal with Goldwyn Pictures to form her own company, but the undertaking was short-lived. Many performers during this period attempted to establish their own companies in hopes of producing their own pictures; unfortunately, most of these endeavors were less than successful, and many of these actors found themselves bankrupt. Chaney was quickly becoming one of the preeminent character actors of the day, sought out by numerous producers and directors, including Herbert Brenon.