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The Penalty (1920)

Passed | | Crime, Drama, Horror | 3 June 1921 (Mexico)
A deformed criminal mastermind plans to loot the city of San Francisco as well as revenge himself on the doctor who mistakenly amputated his legs.

Director:

Wallace Worsley

Writers:

Gouverneur Morris (by), Gouverneur Morris (adapted from his famous novel) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Charles Clary ... Dr. Ferris
Doris Pawn ... Barbary Nell
Jim Mason ... Frisco Pete (as James Mason)
Lon Chaney ... Blizzard
Milton Ross Milton Ross ... Lichtenstein
Ethel Grey Terry ... Rose
Kenneth Harlan ... Dr. Wilmot Allen
Claire Adams ... Barbara Ferris
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Storyline

Blizzard, deranged from a childhood operation in which both his legs were perhaps needlessly amputated after an accident, becomes a vicious criminal, and eventually mob leader of the San Francisco underworld. Out for revenge against the surgeon who performed his operation, he undergoes brain surgery which has a chance of altering his anti-social behavior. Written by Doug Sederberg <vornoff@sonic.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

An amazing story of a man with half a body and half a soul. (Print Ad- Aurora daily Star, ((Aurora, Ills.)) 25 May 1921) See more »


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

3 June 1921 (Mexico) See more »

Also Known As:

Bűntetés See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$88,868 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(2004 alternate)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Lon Chaney could wear the harness for only ten minutes before the pain became intolerable. See more »

Quotes

Dr. Wilmot Allen: True women need love, a home, children. He has made you forget that.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There is no cast list, but the 8 main actors and their character names are credited in the inter-titles as each appear in the film. See more »

Alternate Versions

In 2004, Turner Classic Movies exhibited a version on television with a music score, but no details were given. It ran 90 minutes. See more »

Connections

Featured in Birth of Hollywood: Episode #1.3 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

"I Can Murder Anything But Music"
27 November 2001 | by BaronBl00dSee all my reviews

Lon Chaney gives yet another outstanding performance as a man living with his legs amputated at a young age by mistake. He overhears the doctors first saying it was a mistake and then forging a pact to lie and say the surgery was essential. Chaney grows up to be a bitter, malevolent leader of underground activities in San Francisco. The role gives Chaney several opportunities to show his undeniable skill as an actor and human contortionist. Doubling his legs up and walking on his knees, Chaney mesmerized me with his ability to change reality into fantasy. He looks like a crippled man. Chaney also again showed me his range as an actor that could create pathos through his facial expressions. Never playing a one-dimensional part, Chaney is often brutal and cruel throughout much of the film, yet he enjoys music and art and always possesses a certain charm and affability. A wonderful performance all around! The other actors are very good and the direction is nice and tight. The story is very strong with some melodramatic overtones to be sure. There are some great scenes in this film like Chaney carrying on like a madman demanding the legs of a young doctor and, in particular, the scenes where he poses as Satan after the fall. The film has a nice pace for a silent picture, and the title cards are extremely powerful and literate.


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