- Color Tinted
- Video Tour of Chaney's Actual Makeup Case and the "Double Amputee" Costume Worn in the Film
- Surviving Footage of Chaney's The Miracle Man
- Chaney's 1914 One-Reel Western By the Sun's Rays
- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 1 hours, 33 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: October 9, 2001
- Originally Released: 1920
- Label: Kino Video
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Aspect Ratio: Full Frame - 1.33
- Additional Release Material:
- Behind the Scenes
- Shorts: "By the Sun's Rays" (1914)
- Interactive Features:
- Scene Access
- Interactive Menus
- Text/Photo Galleries:
- Lon Chaney's Makeup Case
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Sight and Sound - 12/01/2012
"[T]his is one of Chaney's most impressively committed early performances."
Description by OLDIES.com:
In a role that established him as one of the most dynamically terrifying performers of the silent screen, Lon Chaney stars in The Penalty
, a grotesque thriller from director Wallace Worsley (The Hunchback of Notre Dame
When an incompetent doctor amputates the legs of a young boy, he has no idea that the youth will grow up to be the immoral and embittered Blizzard, a criminal mastermind who orchestrates a bizarre and heinous plot to avenge himself upon his malefactor. The Penalty teems with irony and sexual menace as Blizzard befriends the surgeon's daughter and serves as an artist's model for her sculptural rendition of Satan, waiting for his moment to show the depth of his demonic desires.
In playing the devious Blizzard, Chaney tightly harnessed his legs within a pair of leather stumps, flawlessly rendering the physical disfigurement that so profoundly echoes the misshapen mind that drives this sadistic character toward his violent destiny. As Chaney biographer Michael Blake says, "One has to wonder if the intensity Lon brought to this role might have been due in part to the pain produced by his harness."
This special Kino on Video edition is loaded with supplemental features which better one's understanding of The Penalty, Lon Chaney and the great lengths to which he went to craft such a feverishly villainous performance.
Lon Chaney turns in an amazing performance in this silent horror film, for which he had to wear an extremely painful harness that kept his legs strapped behind his back. Chaney stars as Blizzard, a double amputee who is out to get revenge on the incompetent doctor who performed the needless amputation on him when he was a child. Now the head of San Francisco's crime syndicate, Blizzard begins his revenge scheme by insinuating himself into the life of the doctor's daughter by serving as her model for a portrait of Satan. Soon, Blizzard's plan encompasses not only humiliating the doctor and his daughter, but also, as he descends into madness, conspiring with the communists on an invasion of the Bay Area. Absurd, frightening, melodramatic, and highly entertaining, THE PENALTY is a high point of 1920s horror.