4 / 5
Directed by: Tod Browning
Written by: Waldemar Young, Charles Tenney Jackson
Actors include: John Gilbert, Renee Adoree, Lionel Barrymore
Length: 76 minutes
Considering how amazing Browning pictures tend to be this one was a bit of a let down. It was still engrossing and easy to watch, but the ending kinda was the bad part of the film. It's about a group of circus performers and easily was the precursor for "Freaks". We see some of the sideshow freaks, and we also get to see a few magic acts and even exactly how they perform them (which was really awesome). Our lead character is a jerk, he's a womanizer who for a living is part of an act where he is magically decapitated and his head put on a platter for a young woman. Thing is the young woman is now dating the man who in the magic act is the sword person who decapitates the jerk. The young woman is still in love with the jerk who she used to date...am I confusing you yet? It all comes together and makes sense for the most part I promise! You'll also get some hilarious sheep talk, and even a poisonous lizard! It's just the happy ending seems tacked on, I'm used to Browning being such a tremendously cruel filmmaker so it just seemed strange is all. That and Lon Chaney is missing from this film, he'd have added a really great character I'm sure, but still the actors used are really impressive. Still a great deal of fun, but watch "The Unknown" and "West Of Zanzibar" first!