- Rated: Not Rated
- Run Time: 1 hours, 14 minutes
- Video: Black & White
- Released: October 26, 2010
- Originally Released: 1930
- Label: Warner Archives
- Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)
- Aspect Ratio: Full Frame
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Description by OLDIES.com:
In his last film and only Talkie - Lon Chaney recreates one of his famed Silent roles: the scheming ventriloquist Prof. Echo. Disguised as Grandma O'Grady, Echo heads a robbery ring that includes a feeble-minded strongman and a cigar-chomping little person, the latter masquerading as Grandma's grandbaby. Known as the Man of a Thousand Faces, Chaney here displays a different kind of virtuosity as well, creating five different voices to portray Echo, Grandma, a parrot, a girl and Echo's dummy. A big hit directed by Jack Conway, The Unholy Three promised to launch Chaney as a major Sound Era star. He was slated to play the title role in Tod Browning's Dracula, but it was not to be. Chaney died only weeks after The Unholy Three premiered.
A remake of the 1925 Lon Chaney melodrama of the same name, 1930's THE UNHOLY THREE makes several concessions to the newly strengthened Hollywood censors, but is still quite entertaining in a macabre sort of way. Chaney reprises his role as Professor Echo, a sideshow ventriloquist who moonlights as a master criminal. Convincingly disguised as a little old lady, Echo stage-manages a series of Park Avenue robberies -- with two of his carnival cohorts, malevolent midget Tweedledee (Harry Earles) and moronic strongman Hercules (Ivan Linow), doing most of the dirty work. Echo's sweetheart Rosie (Lila Lee) plays along with the Unholy Three but changes her mind when their latest burglary, which ended in murder, threatens to send the wholly innocent Hector (Elliot Nugent) to the electric chair. His resolve weakened by Rosie's pleas, Echo contrives to clear Hector in court through a clever vocal trick -- while his two confederates, in true "thieves fall out" fashion, bring about their own gruesome deaths. THE UNHOLY THREE creaks a bit at times, and the unintelligibility of Harry Earles often obscures important plot points, but the film is indispensable as the only talkie appearance of Lon Chaney, "The Man of a Thousand Faces," who died only two months after its release.