Man of a Thousand Faces (1957)

Approved   |    |  Biography, Drama


Man of a Thousand Faces (1957) Poster

The life and career of vaudevillian and silent screen horror star Lon Chaney, including his contentious relationship with his neurotic wife and his premature death.


7.2/10
2,190

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  • James Cagney and Jane Greer in Man of a Thousand Faces (1957)
  • James Cagney and Dorothy Malone in Man of a Thousand Faces (1957)
  • James Cagney in Man of a Thousand Faces (1957)
  • James Cagney and Marjorie Rambeau in Man of a Thousand Faces (1957)
  • Robert Evans and Norma Shearer in Man of a Thousand Faces (1957)
  • James Cagney, Jane Greer, and Dorothy Malone in Man of a Thousand Faces (1957)

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User Reviews


30 August 2011 | MartinHafer
7
| At times rather inaccurate but still entertaining.
"Loosely based....". When I hear this about a bio-pic, it is a complete turnoff to me. I think some it was because I was a history teacher--and to me, history is sacred--you tell it exactly like it was. Yet, in so many Hollywood films, the truth isn't deemed interesting enough and they heavily embellish the picture. Thus is the story of Lon Chaney in "The Man of a Thousand Faces". While the main points are correct, Chaney's interesting life just wasn't interesting enough for the folks at Universal and they played fast and loose with some of the facts. I didn't like this--but must acknowledge that it was an entertaining story.

However, there is one other issue about the film about which I have a unique perspective. Like Chaney, I have a deaf family member--in my case, my daughter. And because of this, I can talk about a few things the average viewer wouldn't notice. When the people are using sign language in the film, they really are using sign language--though they do it a bit poorly. As a result, you can see that the parents of Chaney in the film are not natural signers--but I appreciate that they tried. One thing I did not appreciate, however, is that the film seemed to exploit Chaney's parents--creating problems that did not exist in real life. For example, when Chaney's first wife meets them, she has no idea they are deaf--but this was NOT the case in real life and it just felt cheap--like they were capitalizing on their deafness for the sake of a plot gimmick. That was pretty sad.

Aside from my complaints and observations, I still think this is a very good film. Just understand it all is heavily dramatized and you can take some of it with a grain of salt. Also, it was nice to see the silent comic Snub Pollard in a bit scene midway through the film.

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