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  • Biography - Lon Chaney Jr.: Son of a Thousand Faces [VHS]
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Biography - Lon Chaney Jr.: Son of a Thousand Faces [VHS]

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Product Details

  • Actors: Lon Chaney
  • Directors: Kevin Burns
  • Format: Black & White, Color, NTSC
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Number of tapes: 1
  • Studio: A & E Home Video
  • VHS Release Date: February 7, 2000
  • Run Time: 50 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000006QF4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #617,203 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews

He was a stillborn baby whose father shocked him into life by plunging him in an icy lake. As a famous actor he shocked movie audiences worldwide with his classic portrayals of monsters like the Wolf Man. Lon Chaney, Jr., inherited more than his father'

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Smith on March 22, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This video on Lon Chaney Jr. flowed along excellently, showing his tough childhood years being on the road with his vaudeville parents, stepping out from his father's shadow into acting and reluctantly changing his name to Lon Jr., his lean years in the 1930s, success and stardom in the 1940s with The Wolfman and other Universal horror roles, to his television roles and C grade movies from the 1950s and 1960s.
Former co-stars and his grandson share a lot of intimate looks at Chaney, which portrayed him as a caring, gentle man who was great to work with, despite the alcohol demon that possessed him throughout most of his adult life.
The transition of showing Lon Sr.'s career and how Creighton stepped into acting and changed his name to Lon Jr. for publicity purposes was nicely done. We see clips of Lon from 1930s westerns, his move into horror roles, and then his character roles throughout the rest of his career, both in movies and on TV.
Besides his Wolfman role and other Universal starring roles, the biography focused strongly on his role as Lenny in "Of Mice and Men." Chaney was playing Lenny in the Broadway version, and when the film version was announced, Broderick Crawford was to play the part. Chaney was so into the role that he boldly went to the producers and asked to be screen tested against the other actors in the movie, particularly a youthful Burgess Meredith. Chaney was so overwhelming, that he was recast into the part.
As much as he loved the role of Lawrence Talbot and the Wolfman, he equally hated the role of Kharis the mummy, which he played three times. The makeup was very grueling and took eight hours to do an entire body workover.
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Format: VHS Tape
I'm a big fan of Lon Chaney Jr. and really enjoyed this look at his life and films--covering the ups and down of his early childhood and the ups and downs of trying to break into the acting business. First under his given name of Creighton Tull Chaney--then under studio pressure and the pressures of trying to feed a family, changing his name to Lon Chaney Jr.

Of course, his first big break came as Lennie in "Of Mice and Men"--first on the stage, then in the great film version. Not too long afterwards, Lon found his way to Universal Pictures--and after making a quick programmer called "Man Made Monster", Universal put Lon into a little vehicle titled "The Wolf Man"--which would cement his legacy as one of the all time horror greats.

But Lon probably longed for more than just being a "horror" great or trying to be another man of a 1000 faces and he couldn't seem to escape the alcohol demon or the shadow of his legendary father.

In his later years, the ravages of alcohol had taken their toll & I admit to getting a little emotional watching Lon during that stage of his life as did his grandson Ron Chaney remembering his grandfather during those final days.

But hopefully--wherever he is now--Chaney Jr. is at peace & can take comfort in the fact that he too left behind a great legacy under the name "Lon Chaney" and the films that he made during his prime years at Universal is how I will always choose to remember him and hopefully some day, some film historian will get around to writing the first great book about the life and times of Lon--lord knows such a project has been long overdue.

RIP Lon, and thanks for the great thrills and chills your movies still provide for generations to come.
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