The Unknown (1927)

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The Unknown is a 1927 American silent horror film directed by Tod Browning and starring Lon Chaney as carnival knife thrower "Alonzo the Armless" and Joan Crawford as his beloved carnival girl Nanon. The film was originally to be called Alonzo the Armless. The film was in production from Feb. 7, 1927 until March 18, 1927, and cost $217,000 to make. The worldwide box office gross was $847,000. The film's tagline was "A superb mystery thriller, unusual and startling even for a Chaney film. Lon as "The Unknown" eats, drinks, shoots a rifle and dresses with his feet. Don't miss this startling spectacle!" Stills exist showing Chaney made up as Alonzo the Armless.

The Unknown is considered the most unique and disturbing of the eight films that Tod Browning and Lon Chaney made together at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios in the late silent era. Lon Chaney’s rendering of character Alfonzo and the horrific self-mutilation he endures to win the love of Nanon is reminiscent of the theatre of the Grand Guignol. The fact that Browning managed to get this macabre film greenlighted by a huge studio like MGM shows how much clout the Chaney/Browning team had at the time.

(Summary from Wikipedia)

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