The great American actor Lon Chaney demonstrates his unparalleled flair for on-screen transformation with his macabre characterisation of ‘Blizzard’ – a tortured, criminal mastermind. A young boy has both his legs needlessly amputated by an inexperienced surgeon and grows up to become “master of the underworld”, driven to terrible deeds by his passion for sadistic revenge.
The film is considered Chaney’s break-out role, cementing his reputation as master of the gruesome and grotesque, ahead of his defining performance as the Hunchback of Notre Dame. The actor famously refused the use of trick camera angles to simulate his ‘deformity’, forcing his legs into leather stumps in a tightly bent position that was so painful he could only wear them for ten minutes at a time. The effect is astounding, as is Chaney’s nimble manoeuvring across the set of ropes, ladders and poles showing a technical ability that makes his character utterly believable.
Accompanied by the world premiere of a brand new score by award-winning composer/musician Graeme Stephen for guitar and cello
Dir. Wallace Worsley | | 1920 | N/C 12A | 1h 29m + short
With: Lon Chaney, Ethel Grey Terry, Claire Adams, Charles Clary
Performing live: Graeme Stephen (guitar) & Pete Harvey (cello)
Screening material courtesy of Kino Lorber
Supported by Film Hub Scotland and Film Audience Network