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Man Of A Thousand Faces Blu-ray Review

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James Cagney dazzles in “Man Of A Thousand Faces.”

“Man Of A Thousand Faces” is a 1957 biopic by director Joseph Pevney of actor Lon Chaney. The story primarily deals with his family life including his deaf-mute parents, his troubled relationship with his wife Cleva, raising his son Creighton (AKA Lon Chaney Jr.) amidst unfortunate circumstances and finding love again with Hazel. His vaudeville career and eventual transition into silent cinema is also focused on here up until his tragic passing at a relatively early age.

Despite being about Lon Chaney, this is very much James Cagney’s movie. The legendary actor gives a nuanced performance as Chaney by showing real range. Not only is he attempting to capture Chaney as a person and an actor, but he’s also showcasing various characters the actor portrayed. Basically, Cagney is doing a lo of work here and it’s nothing short of excellence.

Equally impressive here is actress Dorothy Malone as Chaney’s first wife Cleva. The complex and damaged character is given so much depth through Malone’s acting. Her scenes with Cagney really light up the screen.

As for the script by R. Wright Campbell, Ivan Goff, Ben Roberts and Ralph Wheelwright, it’s a fairly standard biopic that explores the life of its subject. A majority of the runtime is devoted to his family life and person struggles. His cinematic career is strangely short changed here, but his big roles (“The Hunchback Of Notre Dame” and “The Phantom of the Opera”) are touched upon. On the downside, the script does tend to feature watered down dramatizations of events along with some soap opera style dramatics. Thankfully, these moments never hurt the film due to the fantastic acting on display.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.35:1 1080p. How does it look? The B&W Cinemascope movie has been given a stunning new print.

Audio Track: Uncompressed Mono 1.0 PCM. How does it sound? Viewers can expect a crisp Mono track here.

Extras:
* “Man Of A Thousand Faces” trailer
* Image gallery
* A booklet containing credits, an essay by writer Vic Pratt, original review snippets, and photos and posters.
* “The Man Behind A Thousand Faces”- Film critic Kim Newman talks about Hollywood history, silent cinema, and, of course, Lon Chaney in this 21 minute piece
* A fact filled scripted solo commentary by Tim Lucas.

October 28, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , , ,

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