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Man of a Thousand Faces


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Product Details

  • Actors: James Cagney, Dorothy Malone
  • Directors: Joseph Pevney
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Silent, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Universal Studios
  • DVD Release Date: June 24, 2008
  • Run Time: 122 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0016B6ZK6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,094 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Man of a Thousand Faces" on IMDb

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Academy Award winner James Cagney gives an unforgettable performance as Lon Chaney in this fascinating true story that follows the life of one of the most iconic and mysterious stars in Hollywood history! Known as the "Man of a Thousand Faces", silent film star Lon Chaney captured the imagination of the world through his incredibly expressive and transformative roles, such as Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame and the Phantom from the original Phantom of the Opera. Behind the scenes, however, this long-suffering talented genius' life was filled with trials and tribulations that helped shape some of his most groundbreaking roles. The Academy Award nominated Man of a Thousand Faces captures the dramatic private life of a humble vaudeville clown who rose to become one of the biggest stars the world has ever seen!

Amazon.com

Lon Chaney earned his nickname "The Man of a Thousand Faces" with a gallery of grotesque, misshapen characters created through a combination of elaborate makeup, contorted postures, and sensitive performances. After a rich silent-movie career starring in such classics as He Who Gets Slapped, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and The Phantom of the Opera, he died after completing his first and only sound film, a remake of his silent crime picture The Unholy Three. James Cagney plays Chaney in this glossy Hollywood biography, a reverent, melodramatic tribute that focuses on his turbulent private life and rise from vaudeville clown to hard-working Hollywood extra to movie star. Dorothy Malone costars as his unstable first wife, who flees her husband and their young son after a failed suicide attempt, Jane Greer is the loving showgirl who fills her void, and future real-life superproducer Robert Evans plays legendary MGM producer Irving Thalberg. Cagney is a short, thick pug of an actor where Chaney is tall and lean, but he oddly resembles the star in his craggy face, and his rarely tapped dancing skills are put to good use in the early vaudeville scenes and contorted recreations of twisted Chaney characters. But most importantly, Cagney brings to the role passion and compassion that burn through the indifferent direction and show-biz clichés to create a vivid, energetic portrait of the enigmatic cult star who rarely let audiences see his true face. --Sean Axmaker

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 54 customer reviews
Well acted by James Cagney.
Jessica L. Edwards
His powerful performances would transcend the silence of the films, making him one of the great character actors of the silent film era.
Lawyeraau
I highly recommend this for film buffs and especially for people who enjoy silent horror flicks.
Matthew G. Sherwin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By stewart d thomas on April 4, 2003
Format: DVD
Truly one of the greatest of all movie stars and a very underated actor this movie glows with Cagney's talent in his depiciton of the life of Lon Chayney. Unlike so many hollywood bios of the time this move tends to steer away from the usual sanitization of a character and instead confronts the darker side of Chaney, a man beset by torments. Poignant, powerful in it's day with the head on look at how deaf people were treated, and indeed with the tragic aspects of Chayney's first marriage. For me this movie stands the test of time exceptionally well, thanks in no small measure to the performances, notably the conflict between Chaney and his first wife wonderfully played by Dorothy Malone. This is one of the great ones!
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 18, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
This is a wonderful bio pic of silver screen great, Lon Chaney, a character actor of great renown during the silent film epoch. All but one of his films were silent. Due to his ability to alter his appearance and play many roles, he eventually became known as "the man of a thousand faces". It is ironic that this man who would forge a meteoric rise in the silent film industry was born to deaf mute parents in 1883.

The film shows the impact that being the son of deaf mute parents would have on his life in those unenlightened times. Lon Chaney (James Cagney)started his acting career as a stage performer in vaudeville, where he was a popular pantomime. His first wife, the beautiful Cleva Creighton (Dorothy Malone), was a chanteuse who had dreams of her own.

Unfortunately, once Lon Chaney and she discovered that she was to have a baby, their happiness would turn to bitterness and anger, due to Cleva's shock at discovering that his parents were deaf mutes. Cleva and Lon Chaney would go on to have a son named Creighton, but she later caused a great scandal early in their son's life with a very public attempt at suicide that would change all their lives forever.

This scandal was to end Lon Chaney's stage career, and it sounded the death knell of his marriage. He ultimately divorced Cleva, who had abandoned both him and their son. The divorce resulted, for a time, in his tragic and heartbreaking separation from his beloved, young son. Chaney was to go on to reclaim his career, as well as his son, but would do so on film, rather than on stage, becoming an extremely popular silent film actor.

Lon Chaney was also a doting father who remarried in order to provide a suitable home for his son. His second wife was a former chorus girl named Hazel (Janet Greer).
Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Thug's Ma on December 7, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Jim Cagney shows all his talents in this well-made bio pic. As Lon Chaney on Vaudeville in his early years, he stages two wonderful dance numbers as a clown -- one dancing with a mannequin, the next a competition with a dancing shadow.
His sense of pantomime and command of sign language is wonderful (Chaney being born to deaf parents), and his performance of the tragedy-stricken Chaney is a real tear jerker.
Especially to be seen is the recreation of Chaney's film "The Miracle Worker." A scene shows Chaney portraying a cripple whose twisted limbs magically unfurl in a traveling scam show.
Dorothy Malone kicks bootie as the insensitive wife and incapable mother who doesn't want to bear Chaney's child because Chaney's parents are deaf and so genetically inferior in her eyes. Chaney had been made fun of all his life due to his parents' deafness, and it's wrenching to see his wife's betrayal. At one point she screams to Chaney, "I don't want to give birth to a dumb thing!" Cagney's pained reaction is amazing.
Cagney's portrayal of a dedicated father to his son is gripping as well. The wife is hateful to the newborn until she learns that he can hear. (Cagney in a great scene hesitates to clap his hands above the baby's crib to see if the noise will register.) The wife rejoices and sweeps the baby from the crib -- her love obviously is conditional. But Cagney subtley wrests the baby from her and coos to the squalling infant that "No one will scare you again." He turns a cold shoulder to her and effectively muscles her out of the relationship in one move. The course of their marriage is set by her previous attitudes and his inability to forgive her. The drama continues.
This film makes one want to see Chaney's silent flicks. It's a good catalyst to jump back into the silent era.
Cagney and rest of cast are magnificent!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By forrie on November 30, 2001
Format: DVD
Lon Chaney made over 150 films from 1913 - 1930. 99.9% of them were silent. He died in 1930 before he could play Universal's "Dracula". Can you imagine that. Instead we had Bela Lugosi get the role and will always be remembered as The Count Dracula.
"Man of a Thousands Faces" is about this remarkable man who was born of deaf parents. From them he learned sign and the unique ability to communicate with great panomimic skills (visual effects for the silent screen).
Summary; This is the life of Lon Chaney (James Cagney) and his Silent Screen genius at work. This movie is considered to be one of the best screen-bios ever produced. Cagney does an amazing job portraying Chaney from using sign, to dance (Cagney won an Oscar in 1940 (Yankee Doodle Dandy) about song and dance man George M. Cohen), acting, master of disguise and his remarkabe contortionistic skills. This films covers his silent film career and his private life. A very enlightening and emotion journey with the "Man of a Thousand Faces". (NOTE - His only son Lon Chaney Jr. became Universal Pictures famous "Wolfman" (1940)).
Chaney was such a Master of Disguise the general public hardly recognized him when ventured out amongst them.
See Lon Chaney is his most famous silent horror classic role as the "Phantom of the Opera" - 1925/1929. (Read my review). Now on remastered DVD.
Good Dvd quality picture and shown in Widescreen (Letterbox) format. This a great film about a great Hollywood talent.
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