7.3/10
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47 user 30 critic

Man of a Thousand Faces (1957)

The life and career of vaudevillian and silent screen horror star Lon Chaney, including his contentious relationship with his neurotic wife and his premature death.

Director:

Joseph Pevney
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Cagney ... Lon Chaney
Dorothy Malone ... Cleva Creighton Chaney
Jane Greer ... Hazel Bennet Chaney
Marjorie Rambeau ... Gert
Jim Backus ... Clarence Locan
Robert Evans ... Irving Thalberg (as Robert J. Evans)
Celia Lovsky ... Mrs. Chaney
Jeanne Cagney ... Carrie Chaney
Jack Albertson ... Dr. J. Wilson Shields
Roger Smith ... Creighton Chaney at 21
Robert Lyden Robert Lyden ... Creighton Chaney at 13
Rickie Sorensen Rickie Sorensen ... Creighton Chaney at 8
Dennis Rush Dennis Rush ... Creighton Chaney at 4
Nolan Leary ... Pa Chaney
Simon Scott Simon Scott ... Carl Hastings
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Storyline

Loose biography of actor Lon Chaney. Growing up with deaf parents, he learns what it is like to be different. As an actor, he puts that knowledge (together with lots of make-up and talent) to use playing a variety of strange, unusual characters, adopting their characteristics so thoroughly as to be called the Man of a Thousand Faces. Written by Ken Yousten <kyousten@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Only Two Women Knew The Secret Behind Lon Chaney, The Fabulous Man Of A Thousand Faces! See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

19 November 1957 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Der Mann mit den 1000 Gesichtern See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Final film of Clarence Kolb. See more »

Goofs

This movie's depiction of Chaney's makeup for "Phantom of the Opera" is very misleading. The movie's version shows Chaney's face unrecognizable and nearly immobile behind elaborate full latex appliances. Chaney was actually proud of his ability to distort his appearance using only a minimum of makeup - in this case basically thin wires in his nose and around his eyes, false teeth and dark paint around his eyes and nostrils. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Guard: Good morning, Mr. Thalberg.
Irving Thalberg: Good morning.
See more »

Connections

References The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) See more »

Soundtracks

Jingle Bells
(uncredited)
Written by James Pierpont (as James Lord Pierpont) (1857)
integrated into soundtrack when Chaney family reunites at Christmas
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fine, sentimental favorite
27 February 2006 | by praxistensSee all my reviews

Saw this on the late show when I was 12 or 13: I was moved, even scared, by scenes with Miracle Man, Christmas dinner, Quasimodo, & especially with the legless man in the alley ("Pick me up & knock me down again!") We know now that LC, Sr., was less than pleasant to be around & that LC, Jr., grew up to be miserable. But this was an early introduction to what I'd heard of as "vaudeville," & the transitional sequences with Cagney as a film lot extra (with a real silent flick star Marjorie Rambeau, as Gert) were fast-paced & convincing. It was a fair cultural shock to see Jim Backus (as agent Locan) in a dramatic role, since until then I'd seen him only on sitcoms & as Mister Magoo.

I have it on tape & watch it maybe once a year & have seen Cagney & co-stars in other vehicles since then: especially Jane Greer in her unsavory "Out of the Past" role. Dorothy Malone (whom I knew only from "Peyton Place") was a great, underrated actress.

Yes, the ending is slow & shmaltzy, & it was hard to imagine even back then (I'd already seen scary LC, Jr., in the teleplay, The Ballad of Jubal Pickett) that Jr. was ever as handsome as Roger Smith. But if nothing else you can get a fictional behind-the-scenes account of the making of two great silents & cultural icons: Phantom of the Opera & Hunchback of Notre Dame.


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