Man of a Thousand Faces

1957 biopic

Rating: 13/20

Plot: The life of silent film legend Lon Chaney, father of talkie film legend Lon Chaney Jr., from his childhood growing up with deaf parents to his career as a make-up maestro in Hollywood.

I can't say I ever really bought this one. Cagney does an admirable job, and I liked the behind-the-scenes reconstructions of Chaney playing some of his most famous roles. But this never really feels like an accurate portrayal of the man, and so much of the film seems incomplete and boring because the director breezes over so much. The fact that I was far more interested in finding out more about the life and work of Lon Chaney before I started the movie than I was halfway through Man of a Thousand Faces is telling. Also telling--halfway through this, I started wishing I was watching a Lon Chaney Jr. movie instead, maybe Hillbillys [sic] in a Haunted House or Spider Baby, or the Maddest Story Ever Told. This is melodrama that never grips, and storytelling that rarely moves.

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