A Thousand Faces: Lon Chaney's Unique Artistry in Motion by Michael F. Blake

By Michael F. Blake

For the 1st time, you could placed conjecture apart and browse definitive evidence in regards to the roles Chaney had behind the curtain in addition to in entrance of the camera.

Blake examines Chaney's movie roles during this follow-up to the author's prior biography (Lon Chaney: the guy in the back of the Thousand Faces, Vestal Pr., 1993). through correspondence, studio notes, and experiences from the preferred press, Blake completely reconstructs the cultural context within which Chaney's motion pictures have been produced, exhibited, and got. even though sometimes topic to silent movie histrionics, Chaney created the position of the twisted antihero, and it really is this contribution to the pantheon of reveal forms that Blake hails the following. He tracks Chaney's upward push from freelancer to MGM megastar, in addition to his partnership with director Tod Browning, whose darkish visions accredited Chaney's tortured protagonists to thrive. regrettably, Blake's ardour as a fan and proficient curiosity in Chaney's artistry (the writer himself is a make-up artist) is suffocated by way of a turbid textual content. every now and then Blake overexplicates and makes visible inferences. The textual content comprises meticulous endnotes, copious images, and a bibliography.

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Additional resources for A Thousand Faces: Lon Chaney's Unique Artistry in Motion Pictures

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In the event the initial $2,000 is not sufficient, I am to advance an additional $1,000, making a total of $3,000; the State Right proposition then failing, this tentative contract may be dissolved within thirty days thereafter. The term “state rights” referred to independent distributors who booked films with the various independent and small-chain theaters in a particular state. ” It was not uncommon for a producer or financier to raise capital by pre-selling a picture, similar to the way Terminator 2 was pre-sold to foreign markets before even a single frame of film was exposed.

Over the crowd’s heads— Cripple boy and Frog on the path leading to the house. Scene 350—MDS [Middle Distance Shot] (reverse)—Frog and the boy—with the crowd in the background. Boy pointing to the house. Scene 351—CU [Close-up]—Boy pointing to house. Scene 352—CU—Frog looking up toward the house. Scene 353—MDS—Patriarch’s Living Room. Patriarch suddenly awakens—Rose is surprised— he rises and walks off—Rose looks after him. Scene 354—LS [Long Shot]—Through door. Patriarch goes out. Scene 355—VLS—Over crowd’s heads.

In that moment, he brings a sense of humanity to the character despite the villainy of the role. It is a gesture similar to the one he uses later, when he first encounters Mary Philbin in Phantom of the Opera. The ability of an actor to use his face and body to convey the many emotions of a character is essential, especially in silent pictures. Many actors in the early days of cinema used broad gestures and facial expressions. Unfortunately some performers failed to change their technique as acting grew from theatrical melodramas to more realistic performances.

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