The Penalty

( 1 )

Overview

Among Lon Chaney's early villainous roles was Blizzard, the criminal mastermind of this melodrama set in San Francisco's Barbary Coast neighborhood. As a young man, Blizzard was the victim of an auto accident, and a quack doctor had mistakenly ordered his legs amputated at the knees. He grows up an embittered, violent man interested only in taking revenge on the rich and powerful, especially the doctor who maimed him and is still practicing. Rose, a secret service agent Ethel Grey Terry, is dispatched to ...
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Overview

Among Lon Chaney's early villainous roles was Blizzard, the criminal mastermind of this melodrama set in San Francisco's Barbary Coast neighborhood. As a young man, Blizzard was the victim of an auto accident, and a quack doctor had mistakenly ordered his legs amputated at the knees. He grows up an embittered, violent man interested only in taking revenge on the rich and powerful, especially the doctor who maimed him and is still practicing. Rose, a secret service agent Ethel Grey Terry, is dispatched to infiltrate Blizzard's gang, but she falls under his spell and becomes his mistress. Blizzard is himself attracted to a lovely artist who wants to paint his portrait, but she resists his advances. Ultimately, Blizzard's plan to have another man's legs grafted onto his own is thwarted when it's discovered that the long-ago accident had caused a reversible brain injury which turned him to the dark side. Rather than perform the operation on his legs, the doctor repairs Blizzard's brain, and Blizzard awakens to find that he is no longer interested in a life of crime. He marries Rose, but his criminal associates decide he must pay the ultimate penalty for his knowledge of their activities.
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Special Features

Video tour of Chaney's actual makeup case and "double amputee" costume from The Penalty; ; Surviving footage of Chaney's The Miracle Man; Original theatrical trailers from Chaney's The Big City and While the City Sleeps; "By the Sun's Rays," Chaney's 1914 one-reel Western; ; New Musical score by The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Tom Wiener
Not as celebrated as The Hunchback of Notre Dame or The Phantom of the Opera in the Lon Chaney canon, The Penalty is still a melodrama with plenty of action, hokey dramatic ironies, and, of course, a magnetic performance by its lead. To play the double amputee Blizzard, Chaney had his legs folded up behind him and strapped to his body; he proves amazingly agile getting around with a pair of cut-down crutches. The glowering Chaney mug is well used here, too, as his character inspires a young artist looking for a model to resemble the devil himself. The story offers several mismatched pairs: the bad doctor who maims Blizzard and his more idealistic protégé; the woman secret service agent gone bad and the idealistic woman artist who resists Blizzard's allure; and the criminal Blizzard and the reformed man, who is ironically cured of his evil ways during an operation that was supposed to restore his legs.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/23/2012
  • UPC: 738329105921
  • Original Release: 1920
  • Rating:

  • Source: Kino Video
  • Presentation: Remastered
  • Sound: silent
  • Time: 1:27:00
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 44,734

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Claire Adams Barbara
Lionel Barrymore
Montgomery Carlyle
Lon Chaney Blizzard
Charles Clary Dr. Ferris
Kenneth Harlan Wilmot
Wilson Hummell
Jim Mason Frisco Pete
Doris Pawn Barbary Nell
Lee Phelps cop
Milton Ross Lichtenstein
Ethel Grey Terry Rose
Edouard Trebaol Bubble
Technical Credits
Wallace Worsley Sr. Director
Samuel Goldwyn Producer
Frank E. Hull Editor
Charles Kenyon Screenwriter
Philip Lonergan Screenwriter
Gouveneur Morris Screenwriter
Don Short Cinematographer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Excellent Penalty

    Being only marginally familiar with "The Penalty", but a huge fan of silent films and Lon Chaney, Sr., I purchased this DVD and, to my delight, found that this has quickly become the favorite in my collection. Kino has done an outstanding job once again; and there's tons of extras included on this DVD as well. We've already watched this movie 6 times in the past two weeks and are likely to watch it 6 more times, as well. I can't praise this film highly enough.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews