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The Unknown

The Unknown(1927)

Remind Me

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* To purchase The Lon Chaney Collection, visit TCM Shopping.

The Lon Chaney Collection marks the beginning of a new marketing initiative from WHV and TCM dedicated to bringing rare gems from Warner Bros. Pictures library of classic films to DVD. "This is the first of what we hope will be many unique releases that will carry the 'TCM ARCHIVES' branding," said George Feltenstein, WHV Senior VP, Classic Catalog. "This collaboration with TCM, distinguished as the classic film-lover's primary television destination, will further cultivate the awareness of these highly- collectible classics and expand the demand for these cinematic rarities."

Tom Karsch, EVP and GM of Turner Classic Movies added, "Working with WHV to bring such great silent films to DVD, as well as our continuous efforts to create new orchestral scores for them, is a reflection of our mutual ongoing commitment to the preservation of Warner Bros. Pictures great film library."

In conjunction with the Lon Chaney Collection's release, TCM will air the films as part of a salute to Lon Chaney along with The Hunchback of Note Dame and The Phantom of the Opera on October 30 with Robert Osborne introducing the films and promoting the collection. The TCM schedule for October 30 begins with The Unknown at 8:00 PM EST and continues with Laugh, Clown, Laugh, 9:00 PM; The Ace of Hearts, 10:30 PM; He Who Gets Slapped, 12:00 AM; The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 1:15 AM and The Phantom of the Opera, 3:00 AM. TCM will also continue to promote the DVD release both on-air and online at their website,, through November.

Like Charlie Chaplin, Lon Chaney was one of the last of the silent screen stars to hold out against the movie's switch to talking pictures. His stock and trade, as he professed," was in makeup and the art of pantomime." Long before teams of moviemakers depended on computers and other techniques to bring monsters and superheroes to life, Chaney -- equipped with little more than a makeup kit and a remarkable acting talent -- dazzled moviegoers by completely transforming himself on screen. He is most remembered for his ghoulish and eccentric performances as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom of the Opera (1923). Though his career spanned only two decades, he made more than 150 films; and even after 65 years the phrase "Man of a Thousand Faces" still brings to mind only one name: Lon Chaney.

Lon Chaney Films Debuting on DVD:
THE ACE OF HEARTS (1921) - When a secret group decides to murder a citizen, the assassin chosen will be the member of the group who draws the ace of hearts. Things don't go as planned in this morality tale of intrigue, love and the sacrifice of one man.

LAUGH, CLOWN, LAUGH (1928) - In one of his signature roles, Chaney is the circus clown who delights crowds with his performances, all the while coping with the heartache of a love that cannot be. Teenaged Loretta Young co-stars.

THE UNKNOWN (1927) - Chaney plays Alonzo the Armless, who makes his living in the circus by throwing knives with his feet, because allegedly has no arms. His assistant Nanon Zanzi (Joan Crawford in an early role), fearful of the touch of any man's hand, falls in love with him. Chaney actually strapped back his arms and learned to use only his feet for this role. Some of the tricks are done by a double but his performance as a contortionist is remarkable in this, possibly most bizarre performance. Tod (Freaks) Browning directed.

LON CHANEY: A THOUSAND FACES (2000) - This definitive screen biography, which explores Chaney's diverse career and very private personal life, includes rare footage, archival photos and insightful commentary from co-stars, historians and others.

LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT (1927) - In this 2002 photo reconstruction by Rick Schmidlin, a presumed suicide could be a case of murder or maybe the supposed victim is alive! Chaney plays the dual roles of a Scotland Yard sleuth and a saw-toothed vampire in this offbeat mix of horror and whodunit.

The two-disc DVD features include:
Disc One:
Introduction by Robert Osborne
The Ace of Hearts
- Commentary by Chaney biographer, Michael F. Blake
- Image gallery
- TCM Young Film Composers Competition winner profile: The Ace of Hearts featurette

- Laugh, Clown, Laugh
- Commentary by Chaney biographer, Michael F. Blake
- Image gallery
- TCM Young Film Composers Competition winner profile: Laugh, Clown, Laugh featurette

Disc Two:
The Unknown
- Commentary by Chaney biographer, Michael F. Blake
- Image gallery
- New music score by the Alloy Orchestra
- Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces; Feature length documentary by award-winning film maker, Kevin Brownlow (The Tramp & The Dictator). Narrated by Kenneth Branagh.
- London After Midnight (reconstruction) - Photo reconstruction to replicate the famous lost footage from the legendary 1927 film.

In addition, the DVD will be presented in a format preserving the aspect ratio of the original theatrical exhibitions. The discs will also include an English language track for the documentary and subtitles in French and Spanish.