By Michael F. Blake
For the 1st time, you could positioned conjecture apart and skim definitive facts 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 past biography (Lon Chaney: the fellow in the back of the Thousand Faces, Vestal Pr., 1993). through correspondence, studio notes, and stories from the preferred press, Blake completely reconstructs the cultural context during which Chaney's movies have been produced, exhibited, and bought. even though sometimes topic to silent movie histrionics, Chaney created the position of the twisted antihero, and it really is this contribution to the pantheon of reveal forms that Blake hails the following. He tracks Chaney's upward push from freelancer to MGM superstar, in addition to his partnership with director Tod Browning, whose darkish visions accredited Chaney's tortured protagonists to thrive. regrettably, Blake's ardour as a fan and knowledgeable curiosity in Chaney's artistry (the writer himself is a make-up artist) is suffocated by means of a turbid textual content. from time to time Blake overexplicates and makes seen inferences. The textual content comprises meticulous endnotes, copious pictures, and a bibliography.
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Additional info for A Thousand Faces: Lon Chaney's Unique Artistry in Motion Pictures
It is a gesture similar to the one he uses later, when he first encounters Mary Philbin in Phantom of the Opera. The ability of an actor to use his face and body to convey the many emotions of a character is essential, especially in silent pictures. Many actors in the early days of cinema used broad gestures and facial expressions. Unfortunately some performers failed to change their technique as acting grew from theatrical melodramas to more realistic performances. Even Chaney was occasionally guilty of this early in his career.
A. Warren’s Chang Low. Lon’s character looks, acts, and walks like a true Oriental, while it is obvious that Warren’s character is being portrayed by a Caucasian. In the May 1923 issue of Picture Play, Lon explained that playing an Oriental character “is infinite art. ” Chaney’s rise in popularity is illustrated by an incident that occurred about this time at the Rivoli Theatre in Portland, Oregon. The Rivoli was screening Outside the Law and decided to add a tworeeler featuring Chaney, called The Empty Gun (1917), to the program.
Scene 351—CU [Close-up]—Boy pointing to house. Scene 352—CU—Frog looking up toward the house. Scene 353—MDS—Patriarch’s Living Room. Patriarch suddenly awakens—Rose is surprised— he rises and walks off—Rose looks after him. Scene 354—LS [Long Shot]—Through door. Patriarch goes out. Scene 355—VLS—Over crowd’s heads. All look at the Patriarch. Scene 356—MDS (reverse)—Frog and the boy with the crowd in the background—looking toward Patriarch. Scene 357—CU—Frog looking toward Patriarch. Scene 358—CU—Patriarch at door.
A Thousand Faces: Lon Chaney's Unique Artistry in Motion Pictures by Michael F. Blake