Wednesday, May 13, 2009

West Of Zanzibar (1928)

5 / 5

Tagline: N/A
Directed by: Tod Browning
Written by: Elliott J. Clawson, Chester De Vonde
Actors include: Lon Chaney, Lionel Barrymore, Mary Nolan
Genre: Drama
Length: 65 minutes
Banned: Nope
Country: USA

Just in case I've never clearly stated my love for both Tod Browning and Lon Chaney (Sr.) let me do so now...I can't believe how amazing the two are when they work together. Anyhow I suppose I should get to the movie. It's silent, black and white and again it doesn't even slightly matter to the film whatsoever, it's still entirely fascinating. It's about a magician who is deeply in love with his wife, and she's cheating on him. The wife's lover tells her magician husband that she loves only him, then he pushes him off of a railing leaving him paralyzed. From then on in the story her husband is known as "Dead Legs". We next find "Dead Legs" several years later, where he's received warning that his wife and a child have shown up in the church. He arrives at the church to find his wife dead and vows to exact revenge on the daughter and the man he believes ran off with is wife. He takes the daughter and raises her in the worst conditions in Zanzibar treating her cruelly and plotting. I don't want to give more away, but there are tribespeople involved and it is a bit racist (I guess one has to consider the year although I certainly don't condone that). The story is extremely cruel, tragic and mesmerizing, it's one of the most compelling things I've seen yet again. It's not as great as "The Unknown" but it's certainly in the same sphere of greatness!

Availability:  Not ever on DVD to my knowledge

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