MOCKERY
Starring Lon Chaney, Ricardo Cortez, Barbara Bedford and Mack Swain
MOTION PICTURE CLASSIC
November, 1927

It's still different characterization that Lon Chaney portrays in "Mockery." The end, seemingly, is nowhere in sight. He gets away from this super-morbid roles which projected him as crippled or deformed and plays a stolid, stupid Russian peasant. The performance is about the one thing you'll remember in the film.

The picture is happily free from heavy atmosphere -- and it certainly has not gone "set." The players act with excellent restraint. Chaney has had better ones, but this won't take anything aay from his popularity."


MOCKERY
Starring Lon Chaney, Ricardo Cortez, Barbara Bedford and Mack Swain
MOTION PICTURE
November, 1927

The critics are quite divided on "Mockery." Some think it is a fine picture, while others (the latter seem to be in the majority) regard it as too heavy and dull. Equally divided are the reviewers over the performance of Lon Chaney as the animal-like peasant, some regarding it as masterly and others declaring that it doesn't measure up to some of the actor's portrayals of the past. The Detroit Times expresses the belief that Chaney convinces his admirers that he "has scored another" in "Mockery." "Chaney holds the tale together with plausible cohesion," continues the Times, which goes on to refer to him as "an expert at make-up, but . . . also an actor" who "within the limited means of the camera can communicate a wide variety of emotions with deep conviction." The Detroit News opines that Chaney's role in this picture is not so vivid as many of his others owing, perhaps, to less extensive use of make-up. "This is not one of Chaney's best pictures," says Jack Moffitt in the Kansas City Star, "but it may be one of his best characterizations." The New York critics are just as divided as those of other cities. The World thinks "Mockery" is "a good picture, thoughtfully done." Wilella Waldorf, in the Post, believes Chaney "does rather better than usual by his role." Joseph McElliott, in the Mirror, says "there is something in this picture, which makes it worthwhile, despite its many labored passages." But Donald Thompson, the Telegram's critic, the reviewer in the Herald-Tribnue, and Herbert Cruikshank in the Morning Telegraph, are among those who opine that the picture misses the spirit of the original idea somewhere in transit. "On the whole unconvincing," is the working in the Herald-Tribune, which publication finds that many of the big dramatic points have been handled in rather artificial fashion.


MOCKERY
starring Lon Chaney, Barbara Bedford and Ricardo Cortez
PHOTOPLAY
October, 1927

Lon Chaney is running rapidly through the list of human ailments and tribulations. In "Mockery" he plays a slow thinking Russian peasant with a harelip. Sergei is just a plodding, stupid oaf who gets swept into the Russian Revolution without knowing what it's all about.
Sergei blunders upon the Countess Titiana fleeing in disguise from the Reds. He saves her life in his stupid way and thereupon the Countess becomes the goddess of his floundering mind. Sergei is persuaded to become a Red in order to possess her, but, in the end, he saves her again for her lover, a dashing Russian officer.

Chaney makes Sergei into an efffective character. This star is the only film luminary who can play dumb gents minus sex appeal and ring the gong at the box office. Sergei is a big blunder and harelip man from the steppes with nothing to recommend him but Chaney's fine performance.
"Mockery" is a manufactured melodrama built around Sergei. Still, it has its excitement and, aside from Chaney's work, there is Barbara Bedford's sympathetic work as Titiana to recommend it. Miss Bedford deserves more opportunities than she has been getting. Ricardo Cortez is satisfactory as the Russian officer, and a neat, if repellent, bit is turned in by Charles Puffy as the fat brute, Ivan, who presides below stairs biding his time for the revolution.

"Mockery" is hardly an authentic picture of the budding revolution but it is good melodrama held up to a keen edge of intensity by Lon Chaney's highly effective character playing.


MOCKERY
starring Lon Chaney and Barbara Bedford
SCREENLAND
November, 1927

Excuse the snickers, but I can't help it. I have to laugh at Lon Chaney. He plays a joke on himself in "Mockery," whether he knows it or not. Without the aid of his well-known make-up kit, he puts over his finest characterization. In full possession of all his legs, arms and eyes, he does keener work than he has hitherto accomplished with the assistance of crutches and whiskers. Here he's been going to a lot of trouble when all he really needed to do was to act. His pathetic Russian peasant in Benjamin Christiensen's interesting picture seems to me the best thing Chaney has contributed. Now he can throw away those crutches while the audience cheers.

This is an old-fashioned picture. It takes place in the Russia of pre-Bolshevik days, when beautiful countesses were still free to carry messages and to kiss handsome captains in the garden. Those were the days. Then, it is melodrama of the frankest type, with picturesque killings every so often. But it's a good picture, all the same. Christiensen's direction has that foreign flavor, and that flavor lasts. Barbara Bedford as the countess who saves Sergei's life after that ignorant peasant has saved hers, is some countess. If all countesses had looked and acted like Barbara, there might not have been so much gloom in Russia. Miss Bedford has poise and distinction without the aid of a tiara. Like Mr. Chaney, she needs no make-up. She always does act a little insolent; I wonder that she's never been cast as a countess before. Ricardo Cortez has his share of snippy charm; and oh, how that boy does grace a uniform! Lon Chaney shares honors with the young folks, and adds on his own account a comedy scene as good as some of our best comedians ever put on. What can't the man do?


See "Mockery" as our "Feature of the Month"

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