Saturday, September 11, 2010

Alonzo The Armless (1927)

Alonzo The Armless better known as The Unknown directed by Tod Browning (Dracula) staring Lon Chaney senior and a very young Joan Crawford. Chaney gives an excellent performance as a murderous criminal with two thumbs on his right hand on the run and hiding in a Gypsy circus act as Alonzo The Armless, the man who throws knives with his feet. Alonzo really does have both arms but he keeps them tucked away in a sexy corset in order to conceal his true identity from the authorities. Can you really finger print a man with no arms? Alonzo is in love with Nanon (Joan Crawford) who has a phobia of men's arms and hands. Nanon can only love a man with no arms. "My whole life men have pawed at my body with their filthy hands. I hate strong arms" Naturally Alonzo is perfect for Nanon. There are a few problems standing in Alomzos way. Number one being that he has arms and Nanon will be sure to find out on the wedding night. Number two the strong man in the circus also loves Nanon. Alonzo can do pretty much anything with his feet and its pretty cool to watch Lon Chaney smoke cigarettes and play guitar with his feet. So Alonzo decides to blackmail a doctor and have his arms cut off. While Alonzo is in the hospital recovering Nanon falls in love with the strong man and is no longer afraid of men with arms. When Alonzo finds out that Nanon is going to marry the muscles of the circus he becomes furious and comes up with a plan to have the strong arms ripped from his enemies body in a circus act involving two horses running in opposite directions. I wont give the outcome of the story because this silent era picture is a must see.

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