A notorious Limehouse criminal, Dan Tate (Lon Chaney) lives a double life. As feared underworld figure The Blackbird, he hides in plain sight posing as his imaginary brother, the Bishop, a kind-but-crippled preacher who runs the local mission. Infatuated with charming French music hall performer Fifi Lorraine (Renee Adoree), Tate's affections turn to envy when she falls for West End Bertie (Owen Moore), a handsome gentleman thief. With jealousy clouding his reason, Tate employs both his identities in a sinister scheme to destroy his rival and keep Fifi for himself.
This characteristically grim Lon Chaney/Tod Browning collaboration stars "The Man of a Thousand Faces" in two distinct characterizations. By day, the crippled Bishop of Limehouse (Chaney) is a kindly, beneficent figure, ministering to the needs of the poor and destitute. But by night, the Bishop sheds his clerical garb-and his physical handicap-to become the Black Bird, mastermind of a vast underworld organization. Completely undetectable and untouchable, the Black Bird can only be destroyed by himself-a fact that consumes the film's final reels. Renee Adoree and Owen Moore also star in this atmospheric melodrama, which was adapted by Waldemar Young from Tod Browning's story THE MOCKINGBIRD.
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