THE ROAD TO MANDALAY
starring Lon Chaney, Lois Moran and Owen Moore
MOTION PICTURE MAGAZINE
Outside of the technical arrangements, the marks of production so to speak, which concern the settings, atmosphere, camera angles - and the straightforward progress of the story - this picture cannot be called any "great shakes." True, it gives Lon Chaney another opportunity to tuck a weird characterization away in his gallery, but the plot is so sordid and morbid that were it not for the grip of the star's uncanny performance it would in all likelihood be dismissed as a crass caricature of life.
Chaney saves it, however. He appears as a one-eyed derelict of Singapore, who rises from the depths only whenever he comes in contact with his pure and undefiled offspring - a girl reared in a sanctuary of sweetness and light.
Chaney effects his characterization by using some chemical in his eye - and the story goes that the process was so painful that the drug could only be used two hours at a time. This eye of his fascinates from the same line of reasoning that a bird is fascinated by a snake. Watching it, together with his play of facial muscles, you can understand the grip he has on you. And that's about all there is to the story.
It builds to a most morbid finish - when the girl kills her father, ignorant of his identity. There is a flash of redemption in the plot - built around the one-eyed man's partner, who becomes a disciple of good morals when he falls in love with the daughter.
Tod Browning can be depended upon for thrilling melodramas.
He measures out suspense in large doses. If this story was as
good as his direction, he would have another "Unholy Three"
on his hands.
Video availability: Reportedly, only 25 minutes of this film survives
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