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TCM Archives - The Lon Chaney Collection (The Ace of Hearts / Laugh, Clown, Laugh / The Unknown) (2003)

Various , Various  |  NR |  DVD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Closed-captioned, NTSC, Silent, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: October 28, 2003
  • Run Time: 329 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0000B1O9L
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,782 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "TCM Archives - The Lon Chaney Collection (The Ace of Hearts / Laugh, Clown, Laugh / The Unknown)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Three films plus the documentary A Thousand Faces on two discs
  • London After Midnight: Rick Schmidlin's photo reconstruction of the lost 1927 film
  • Photo/memorabilia galleries
  • Introduction by Robert Osbourne

Editorial Reviews

Long before teams of technicians used computers to bring monsters and superheroes to the screen, one man equipped with little more than a makeup kit and a remarkable acting talent dazzled moviegoers with his ability to transform himself into all manner of men, monsters and outcasts. That man was Lon Chaney. This 2-Disc Chaney celebration includes three of his major works. The Ace of Hearts, - a tale of murderous intrigue, Laugh, Clown, Laugh - Chaney as a love-smitten circus clown, and The Unknown - where Chaney is a armless knife thrower. These are in their most complete surviving versions. Narrated by Kenneth Branagh, Turner Classic Movies' compelling documentary Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces explores Chaney's diverse career and very private personal life. They are a few of this genius's thousand faces - faces that continue to amaze and entertain

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
69 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Ideal Introduction To "The Man Of A Thousand Faces". November 4, 2003
Verified Purchase
For those of you who only know Lon Chaney as The Phantom or Quasimodo and for those who don't know him at all, this collection is the ideal introduction to one of the most gifted artists to ever step in front of a camera. Start first with the British documentary on Chaney narrated by Kenneth Brannagh to give yourself some background.

The first movie to watch is LAUGH CLOWN LAUGH (reportedly Chaney's favorite among his films) which ably demonstrates his ability to convey deeply felt emotions by the use of his body language and without heavy make-up although he does wear clown make-up at the end. Also the 15 year old Loretta Young is remarkable in her feature film debut. Follow that with THE ACE OF HEARTS which is the weakest of the three but still a pretty good film that allows Chaney the opportunity to shine in a fascinating storyline that is still of interest today. Save Tod Browning's THE UNKNOWN for last as it is truly a one of a kind film that will stay with you long after it's over. Chaney plays an armless knife thrower who isn't really armless while a young Joan Crawford has a phobia about being touched. Even more bizarre than it sounds with vivid performances and an astonishing visual composition. Each movie is taken from the best available source material and comes with a newly recorded score composed specifically for each film. View the other supplements whenever you choose to get a fully rounded picture of this incredible talent.

All in all a remarkable set at a good price. Like the PHANTOM and METROPOLIS DVD's released earlier this year, this is how it should be done. Hopefully Turner Classic Movies can now turn their attention to the other classic M-G-M silents in their library (BEN HUR, GREED, THE BIG PARADE, THE WIND) and release them as well. For the next deluxe package how about "The Greta Garbo Collection". Thanks to efforts like this, the art of the silent film is alive and well and being passed on to a new generation of film lovers.
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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Laugh, Clown, Laugh....Even though your heart is breaking November 13, 2003
Verified Purchase
Warner Home Video has just released the 2-disc DVD "Lon Chaney Collection"; 3 complete films, scene selections, photo galleries, audio commentaries by Michael Blake, and an intimate Chaney documentary. The first film is Goldwyn Pictures' 1921 "Ace of Hearts", with Chaney at the center of a vigilante secret society. The second movie is MGM's macabre 1927 masterpiece "The Unknown", directed by Tod Browning. Chaney stars as a deranged carnival knife-thrower who sacrifices his human limbs to enter the arms of the young girl he loves. Co-starring is 23-year-old Joan Crawford. "The Unknown" was thought to be a lost film for many years. In the early 1970's, Cinematheque Francaise discovered metal cans containing unidentified reels of film. The canisters were marked "L'Inconnu", French for "Unknown". The third is MGM's 1928 "Laugh, Clown, Laugh", a mesmerizing love story with Chaney as Tito, a jovial circus performer. Tito finds a young baby girl by the river's edge(abandoned by her parents), and adopts the tiny waif as his own. This begins his life-long love of the girl, then the woman, known simply as Simonetta. Chaney's anguished portrait of the aging clown, transfixed by a lovely young woman, is charismatic and eloquent. Simonetta is played by an enchanting 15-year-old Loretta Young. "Laugh, Clown, Laugh" has never been released on video or DVD before. It was first seen on TV in 2002 on TCM cable. If you have never seen this film, I envy the pleasure you are about to enjoy. You also receive the photo gallery/continuity-script recreation of 1927's "London After Midnight". After 1930, the negative and print of "London After Midnight" was stored away in vault 7 at MGM. Read more ›
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When was Lon NOT great? September 24, 2006
Contained in this wonderful collection are the films 'The Ace of Hearts' (1921), 'The Unknown' (1927), and 'Laugh, Clown, Laugh' (1928), together with an awesome documentary about Lon's life and career (with ample film clips), a 40-minute stills and intertitle recreation of 'London After Midnight' (1927), audio commentaries by Michael Blake, Lon Chaney's definitive biographer, photo galleries, introductions to the films by TCM host Robert Osbourne, and a featurette on the composers who have won TCM's now-annual Young Film Composers contest. Two of those silents that were selected to have new scores written for them by the winners were 'The Ace of Hearts' and 'Laugh, Clown, Laugh.'

'The Ace of Hearts' was the first of Lon's films I ever saw, and even though it's not really the height of greatness, it did make me into a big fan. The origins and purpose of this secret society which Lon belongs to are never really explained (we just have a vague idea of their purpose), and the plot was also a bit of a mystery. However, as curious and under-par though this film might be, Lon totally steals the show. He just *looked* like an actor, and lived up to all of the great things I'd heard about what a wonderful actor he was. I was really impressed by his body language and facial expressions, and how he just inspired such sympathy in the audience, wanting him to be the one to get the girl (the beautiful Leatrice Joy) and to have a happy ending.

'The Unknown' is bizarre, to say the least. It was directed by Tod Browning, his favorite director, who did a lot of macabre disturbing unconventional pictures like this. It also seems as though there's some footage missing from this one, at only about 50 minutes long, added to the fact that it was only available in murky 9.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Master of Disguise
Many younger people would not know the name Lon Chaney or be familiar with his filmography. If you are one of these folks and recently discovered him through a film class or book... Read more
Published 1 month ago by victrola
5.0 out of 5 stars For my Mom to see
I bought this for my Mother. One of her uncles is an actor in one of these movies. We really enjoyed watching it. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Patty
5.0 out of 5 stars The Unknown
Fantastic film for its age. Lon Chaney does a great portrayal of the armless knife thrower. Taught himself to smoke and drink with his feet-pretty amazing. Read more
Published 6 months ago by robert starford
5.0 out of 5 stars Sensational....but what would you expect from Lon Chaney, Sr.?
Wonderful buy, hours of entertainment. They DO NOT make them like this anymore....but they don't have the likes of Lon Chaney, Sr. anymore either.
Published 6 months ago by Ketch
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Collection
Great Collection.Glad I purchased this great set of Lon Chaney Sr. movies. Very well put together.The extra's were good as well.
Published 10 months ago by Evelyn M Siegel
5.0 out of 5 stars Lon Chaney Sr.
This was a great introduction to the works of Lon Chaney Sr., especially given that my only experience to the great man's work before this was "The Phantom of the Opera", which was... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Paul Carruthers
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining
I can see why Lon Chaney is such an accomplished artist even in this day and age. I like this mix of the different films Lon made as it gives my imagination a work out. Read more
Published 15 months ago by LV gal in AZ now
5.0 out of 5 stars Lon Chaney Was Always At His Greatest
I was extremely excited to see this product had arrived at my house. Despite already owning "The Unknown", "The Ace Of Hearts" and the documentary "A Thousand Faces" it was worth... Read more
Published on August 17, 2012 by JoshSigurdson
5.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch Collection
I've been working my way through this collection which includes three films from the '20's and a documentary about Lon Chaney featuring Michael Blake, probably the foremost expert... Read more
Published on August 8, 2012 by G.I Gurdjieff
5.0 out of 5 stars Three must owns of a master craftsman of the Silent era
Well,it took me a heck of a long time to get around to reviewing TCMs release of this Lon Chaney collection of films but it has finally arrived. Read more
Published on May 20, 2012 by Robert Badgley
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