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In a role that established him as one of the most dynamically terrifying performers of the silent screen, Lon Chaney (The Phantom of the Opera) stars in The Penalty, a grotesque thriller form director Wallace Worsley (The Hunchback of Notre Dame). When an incompetent doctor amputates the legs of a young boy, he has no idea that the youth will grow up to be the immoral and embittered Blizzard, a criminal mastermind who orchestrates a bizarre and heinous plot to avenge himself upon his malefactor.
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than in other films (Phantom of the Opera, London After Dark), but
Chaney's exquisite control of facial expressions in portraying a
vengeance obcessed sociopath is something to see. I enjoyed this one!
Much to the doctor's shock and dismay, one of his colleagues reveals that amputation wasn't necessary and the boy overhears how the doctor butchered him. Years later, the boy would grow up to become Blizzard, the King of the San Francisco underworld.
Blizzard has plans--not only to rob the city blind, but to exact revenge on the doctor who robbed him of his legs.
This was without doubt, the best Lon Chaney Sr. movie I have seen. No elaborate facial makeups, just the acting skills of a master silent screen star--and the no doubt arduous pains Chaney must have gone through to affect the double amputee look.
Also, this might be one of the very few Chaney Sr. films I've seen where he gets a girl. Not the one he had his eyes on throughout the film, but a girl nonetheless and after an operation, it appears Chaney may get a very happy ending--that is until he must pay the Penalty.
And, this is the best restoration I have seen of all of Chaney's surviving silents. There's still one or two I have not purchased yet, but there was not a whole lot in the way of grain or dirt, static, whatever else may effect old movies such as these.
Overall, if you're a fan of Lon Chaney, then "The Penalty" is required viewing.