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The Unknown (1927)

Since April marks the birth month of silent film star Lon Chaney, the Pratt pays homage to "The Man of a Thousand Faces" by screening one of his best collaborations with director Tod Browning ("Dracula," "Freaks").

In The Unknown, Chaney plays Alonzo the "Armless Wonder," a carnival knife-thrower who performs amazing stunts using only his feet. He actually has both arms, but secretly keeps them strapped to his side to maintain the illusion of being armless. Conveniently, his beautiful assistant Nanon (Joan Crawford) loathes being touched by any man's hands. Chaney later strangles the circus manager (Nick De Ruiz) and, to cover up his crime and to make himself the perfect mate for Crawford, he blackmails a doctor into amputating his arms. But love is fickle and Chaney soon loses much more than just his heart and limbs. The stellar cast also includes Norman Kerry as the circus strong man and John George as Chaney's midget confidante Cojo.

Directed by Tod Browning, 1927, 50 min., b&w, silent.

Saturday, April 26, 2014 at 2:00pm to 3:00pm

Central Library, Wheeler Auditorium
400 Cathedral Street, Baltimore, MD 21201

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