When Tiger Haynes (Lon Chaney) learns his beloved daughter Toyo (Lupe Velez) intends to marry Bobby Bailey (Lloyd Hughes), the son of an American circus owner, the Indochina-based animal trapper is skeptical at first, but soon gives his blessing. But when Bobby joins Tiger for a boat ride down the river, the young man soon falls under the seductive spell of fellow passenger Madame de Sylva (Estelle Taylor), Toyo's estranged mother and Haynes' vengeful ex-wife. So when she attempts to even the score by stealing Bobby away from their daughter, Haynes decides to take care of de Sylva by declawing the cougar once and for all.
Star Lon Chaney Sr. and director Tod Browning bade adieu to the silent-movie era with 1929's WHERE EAST IS EAST. His face covered with hideous scars (convincingly applied with nonflexible collodion), Chaney is cast as weather-beaten animal trapper Tiger Haynes, at present living and working in Indochina. Haynes' loving relationship with his nubile half-caste daughter Toyo (Lupe Velez) is threatened by the return of Toyo's scheming mother, Madame Da Sylva (Estelle Taylor). Still harboring a grudge against Tiger, the Madame decides to get even by stealing Toyo's sweetheart Bobby (Lloyd Hughes) away from her. The villainess also intends to destroy Haynes by turning his animal "pets" against him. But the Madame is herself destroyed by Haynes' loyal gorilla, who in a gruesome (but largely unseen) finale tears the viperish woman apart. A typically morbid entry in the Chaney-Browning series, WHERE EAST IS EAST may elicit more laughs than chills when seen today.
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