Lon Chaney, “The Man of a Thousand Faces”

To celebrate the amazing Lon Chaney and TCM’s airing of 16 Chaney classics, I’ve put together a slideshow of a few of his most famous characters. Consider these images a teaser, because still images do not do justice to Lon Chaney’s tranformative performances. For example, in Mr. Wu, Chaney appears physically smaller, well beyond the bounds of what could be achieved with make-up, costume, camera angles, etc. In short, Lon Chaney will blow your mind!

Enjoy this rouge’s gallery and then watch some Lon Chaney!

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About prettycleverfilmgal

Social media consultant, blogger for hire, and lover of classic movies and silent films. I often watch, consider, and write about movies when I should really be doing other things.

Posted on August 15, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. If Lon Chaney had done the majority of his work in sound rather than silent film, he might have been called “Man of a Thousand . . . . Talents . . . Characters . . . Heartbreaks . . . ?” instead of (or in addition to ) “Faces . . .”

    Even in silent film, the two he’s best remembered for (“Phantom” and “Hunchback”) are probably the ones that earned him the “Faces” name. In most of his other films, it’s not so much the makeup but, as you noted, the ability to play so many different characters — more than just different “faces.”

  2. Interesting side note, in Chaney’s only “talkie,” the 1930 remake of The Unholy Three he voiced 5 characters, the ventriloquist, the old woman, a parrot, the dummy and the girl. He also signed a sworn statement declaring that all of the 5 distinct voices were his own. So I guess we can add “The Man of a Thousand Voices” to your list as well.

    I whole hardheartedly agree that the makeup was merely the finishing touch on a natural and innate ability to be so convincingly other. It’s a quality that I sometimes observe in other fine actor, Lionel Barrymore. Barrymore could often seen to physically transform, though not nearly as convincingly or consistently as Lon Chaney.

  1. Pingback: Lon Chaney YouTube Festival « Pretty Clever Films

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