“Men! The beasts! God would show wisdom if he took the hands from all of them!” A fascinating, bizarre and disturbing silent horror film directed by Tod Browning (Freaks), The Unknown features an outstanding performance by Lon Chaney as “Alonzo the Armless,” a circus knife thrower obsessed with the beautiful “Nanon” (Joan Crawford). However, Alonzo is hiding a dark secret – he’s actually a thief with the telltale deformity of two thumbs on his left hand and the whole “armless” act is a ploy to keep the police off his trail. In a desperate attempt to win over Nanon, Alonzo makes a horrific decision that backfires badly to say the least! The cast includes John George as Alonzo’s dwarf sidekick “Cojo” and Norman Kerry as “Malabar the Mighty,” another of Nanon’s suitors who she initially rebuffs. The Unknown would make an excellent double feature with The Unholy Three (1925), another great Chaney/Browning collaboration.
Useless Trivia: A double known as “Dismuki”—a circus performer born without arms, was used for several scenes, including the knife-throwing act.