14 June 2004 | BaronBl00d
More's the Pity
Though not nearly as polished as its silent counterpart, in large part due to the absence of director Tod Browning, this version is still a well-made film with a lot to offer. If for no other reason than seeing Lon Chaney in his only sound film, this film is a must! Chaney is wonderful again in the role of Echo, a ventriliquist and criminal. Chaney shows that he understood the sound medium and would have done great things in pictures to come had he lived. Alas! he died shortly after this film from throat cancer. He shows that he was a very credible actor and really impressed me with his comic timing. The rest of the cast is good with Elliot Nugent as the patsy Hector contributing a nice turn and Harry Earles again reprising his role as the midget baby. I found some of his words a bit difficult to understand, but he nonetheless added immeasurably with his split persona of a hard, stogie-chomping small man and then becoming a little tyke with relative ease. Lila Lee does a credible at best job as Rosie O' Grady. Some scenes in this film are particularly well-crafted as when the policeman visits the home of Mrs. O'Grady and starts playing with Earles's toy elephant. Also, Earles is a delight to watch playing with a ruby necklace. Chaney does not get the opportunity to show the pathos he exuded in the silent version - more due to Browning's absence I think. Director Jack Conway does a workmanlike job but misses a bit with the atmosphere of the film. At any rate a fine film and a tribute to Chaney as man capable of just about anything!