The Unholy Three (1925)

Article #243 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 11-14-2001
Posting date: 3-30-2002

A ventriloquist, a strong man and a midget team up to commit robberies, each using their unique talents or attributes to succeed.

This one is a lot of fun, and includes a great performance by Chaney, the not-so-evil mastermind of this group. It’s not really horror, though it does possess a couple of touches that make it of interest to horror fans; firstly the interest in freaks, and secondly, the presence of a killer chimpanzee who plays a crucial (if contrived) role towards the end of the movie. They use a real full-grown chimpanzee rather than a man in a gorilla suit, but I can’t help but notice that we don’t actually see it in the same frame with any of the human actors, probably as a result of the ill-temper of full grown chimps. This is one of the most enjoyable silent films I’ve seen, despite a somewhat messy plot, and the fact that we’re not really allowed to see the actual robbery take place in its entirety. It would be remade five years later, and certain plot elements would also find their way later into Tod Brownings’ THE DEVIL DOLL.


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